TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Muammar Qadhafi is emphatic he will not leave Libya, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday after talks with the Libyan leader that left prospects for a negotiated end to the conflict looking dim.
But new questions emerged over how long Qadhafi could hold on after a senior UN aid official said shortages of food and medicine in areas of Libya controlled by Qadhafi amounted to a “time bomb”.
Within hours of Zuma’s departure from Tripoli late on Monday, Libyan television reported that NATO aircraft had resumed attacks, striking what it called civilian and military sites in Tripoli and Tajoura, just east of the capital.
Zuma was in Tripoli to try to revive an African “roadmap” for ending the conflict, which started in February with an uprising against Qadhafi and has since turned into a war with thousands of people killed.
The talks produced no breakthrough, with Qadhafi’s refusal to quit – a condition the rebels and NATO have set as a pre-condition for any ceasefire – still the sticking point.
“Col. Qadhafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue,” Zuma’s office said in a statement. “He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties”.