Gadhafi declares cease-fire; West expresses doubts
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP)
Trying to outmaneuver Western military intervention, Moammar Gadhafi's government declared a cease-fire on today against the rebel uprising faltering against his artillery, tanks and warplanes. The opposition said shells rained down well after the announcement and accused the Libyan leader of lying.
Wary of the cease-fire, Britain and France took the lead in plans to enforce a no-fly zone, sending British warplanes to the Mediterranean and announcing a crisis summit in Paris with the U.N. and Arab allies. In Washington, President Barack Obama ruled out the use of American ground troops but warned that the U.S., which has an array of naval and air forces in the region, would join in military action.
There should be no doubt about the Libyan leader's intentions "because he has made them clear," Obama said. "Just yesterday, speaking of the city of Benghazi, a city of roughly 700,000, he threatened 'we will have no mercy and no pity.' No mercy on his own citizens."
In a joint statement to Gadhafi late today, the United States, Britain and France - backed by unspecified Arab countries - said a cease-fire must begin "immediately" in Libya, the French presidential palace said.