South African president says concerned about Gaddafi's safety

08:53, June 01, 2011      

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South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that he was concerned about the personal safety of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Following his May 30 visit to Gaddafi in Tripoli, Zuma said in statement to the South African Press Association (SAPA) that the Libyan leader was not prepared to leave his country even though he was in danger.

Zuma added that Gaddafi called for an end to the NATO bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue.

"He emphasized that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties," Zuma's office said in a statement.

During his visit to Libya, Zuma was taken on a tour to see the deepening humanitarian crisis and the destruction caused by NATO bombings.

"The personal safety of Colonel Gaddafi is of concern," the South African presidency said.

At Gaddafi's home in Tripoli, the two leaders held lengthy discussions. Zuma will report back on the talks to the African Union (AU), the South African presidency statement said.

It said Gaddafi reiterated his agreement to a ceasefire and a dialogue of the Libyan people to find a political solution.

"He expressed his anger at the NATO bombings, which have claimed the lives of his son and grandchildren and continue to cause a destruction of property and disruption of life."

Zuma, who represented the AU on his Libyan visit, had called on Libyan leaders to enter into dialogue to find a lasting solution to end the conflict in the country.

The South African presidency repeated an AU call for the NATO and other parties to respect the AU's role in searching for a solution.

However, news agencies reported that NATO air strikes resumed shortly after Zuma left Libya.

Source: Xinhua
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