The PJ Tatler

Libya: Gaddafi announces 'cease fire'

Europe, US prep warplanes, Gaddafi wobbles? Or just buys time?

Foreign Minister Mousa Kousa said Libya is declaring an immediate ceasefire and stopping all military operations against rebels.

He said the government would also “open dialogue channels” to ensure there was sustained peace in Libya.

International relations experts say the strategic move buys the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi breathing space as the UN-backed states must now agree on a response.

Oliver Miles, former British ambassador to Libya, told Sky News: “I think he has taken a step that no one foresaw.

“It is very difficult to read Gaddafi’s mind but I think he sees this as a way of holding back the military attack.”

The Libyan regime promised to halt military operations against the eastern city of Benghazi and other rebel strongholds.

Sky’s Lisa Holland, reporting from Tripoli, said: “It is very, very interesting to hear this complete change in the regime’s rhetoric.

On the other hand, there’s a report that the Libyan government forces are still shelling Misrata.

Reuters says that in Misurata, a doctor has said that government forces are still shelling the city, despite the announcement of the “immediate ceasefire” by the government. The doctor said that 25 people have been killed there.