Former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has welcomed the decision by Libyan leader Muammar Al Gaddafi to declare an immediate ceasefire to prevent further civilian casualties.

President Rawlings said the Libyan leader should use the ceasefire as an opportunity to initiate dialogue with those who have divergent opinions to his government.

Libyan Foreign Minister, Mussa Kussa announced his government’s ceasefire following a resolution by the United Nations backing all necessary measures short of occupation to protect civilians in the country.

President Rawlings had earlier on Friday met with the Libyan Ambassador to Ghana, Dr. Ali Ghadban, during which he called on Colonel Gaddafi to stand down his forces and create an opportunity for discussion on the future political direction of Libya.

“The world is observing what is going on in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen…and Libya was the last place I thought will be engulfed in such hostilities. Let us not do anything that will undermine the peaceful protests in the Middle East, in their quest for a freer society and the fight against corruption.

“Colonel Gaddafi has been an advocate of people’s power and he needs to stand down his troops and not allow the situation to escalate,” President Rawlings said.

President Rawlings said Colonel Gaddafi’s stance as an advocate of people’s power may have been too theoretical to some and what is happening in Libya is a wakeup call to recognise that there is a problem that needs to be looked into. “If an aspect of the constitution needs to be examined, let us take a look it. Let us allow a peaceful transformation,” he said.

Ambassador Ali Ghadban said the Libyan government was keen to dialogue with opposition groups and was doing everything to avoid confrontation. He said the opposition were being manipulated by external influences and were reluctant to dialogue on Libya’s political future. He thanked President Rawlings for his intervention and counsel.

President of the 31st December Women’s Movement and NDC Vice-Chairman, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who was also at the meeting called on Colonel Gaddafi to set clear parameters to pave the way for dialogue. The former First Lady said continued hostilities will affect women and children who are the most vulnerable in any society.

Council of State member, former Chief of Defence Staff and ECOMOG Commander, General Arnold Quainoo said President Gaddafi must show magnanimity and call for an immediate ceasefire.

Also at the meeting were Messrs Kofi Adams and Herbert Mensah.



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