Gaddafi announces immediate ceasefire

—-Calls for dialogue with all parties

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The Libyan government has announced an immediate ceasfire in its conflict with rebels holding up in eastern part of the country.

Speaking at a news conference in Tripoli, the Foreign Minister, Mussa Kussa pledged his government`s willingness to protect the lives of all civilians.

This, he said, was in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which was adopted in New York Thursday.

Mr Kussa said the resolution goes against the Charter of the United Nations describing it as a violation of Libyan sovereignty.

He called on the international community to send a fact-finding mission to the country to assess the situation on the ground.

The Foreign minister also pledged that his government will protect foreign nationals and their property.

The statement is seen by observers as an attempt by the Gaddafi regime to starve-off bombings by Britain and France.

The question remains: Does the Libyan action go far enough to satisfy the demands of the international community? The next few hours is crucial.

By ANA Diplomatic Correspondent, Berlin