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Food and medicine is running out in Libya as attempts at a cease fire fail

Rebels in Libya reject the terms of a peace deal as they do not include removing Gaddafi from power. Meanwhile the UN says the food and medicine situation in the country will be critical within weeks.

South African president Jacob Zuma meets with Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli
South African president Jacob Zuma meets with Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli
Image: /AP/Press Association Images

THE UN SAYS that parts of Libya held by Muammar Gaddafi are running out of food and medicine, with some areas only holding supplies to last a few more weeks.

Reuters reports that the UN humanitarian coordinator is predicting a critical condition in the country if the conflict continues.

Talks between the South African president Jacob Zuma and Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi aimed at ending the conflict in Libya have failed to result in a peace deal.

Zuma saids that Gaddafi is ready for a truce to stop the fighting in his country, but he listed familiar Gaddafi conditions that have scuttled previous cease-fire efforts. Rebels quickly rejected the offer as it didn’t include Gaddafi’s exit from power, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Zuma said Gaddafi is ready to implement to road map to stop hostilites and that the Libyan leader insists that “all Libyans be given a chance to talk among themselves” to determine the country’s future.

In April, Zuma led a delegation of the African Union to Tripoli with an AU proposal for a truce. Gaddafi said he would accept the truce but quickly ignored it and resumed his attacks, while the rebels rejected the cease-fire out of hand because it did not include Gadhafi’s exit from power. Since then many cease-fire efforts have failed for similar reasons.

The South African leader has denied rebel claims that he is in Tripoli to negotiate an exit strategy for Gaddafi. Rebel Foreign Minister Fathi Baja said the rebels will launch an offensive against Gaddafi soon.

The visit by Zuma coincided with the defection of eight Libyan officers from Gaddafi’s forces. The eight have appealed to their former fellow officers to join them and the rebels in fighting Gaddafi’s rule.

Several senior officials, including at least three Cabinet ministers, have abandoned Gaddafi during the uprising that began in February. Even so, he clings tenaciously to power, and the military units still loyal to him are far superior to the forces available to the rebels.

- Additional reporting by AP

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Emer McLysaght

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