Nato rejects Gaddafi ceasefire call
Nato powers have rejected Muammar Gaddafi's call for a ceasefire and negotiations, saying they need "actions not words," and aid ships were prevented from docking in a besieged coastal city while the alliance swept the port for mines.
Human Rights Watch said two mines had been destroyed by Nato forces combing the Misrata port while a third was being closely monitored. The alliance did not give details but said the process would take time.
"Mine clearance is a precise and highly skilled task, so it will take time to do this in a safe and effective way," Nato spokeswoman Carmen Romero said.
Nato also bombed a government complex that included the state television building in Tripoli. The Libyans alleged the strike was meant to kill Gaddafi as his address was broadcast live on state TV, but the TV building was not damaged and Gaddafi spoke from an undisclosed location.
In a rambling pre-dawn speech that lasted for more than an hour, Gaddafi appeared both subdued and defiant, repeatedly pausing as he flipped through hand-written notes.
"The door to peace is open," Gaddafi said, sitting behind a desk. "You are the aggressors. We will negotiate with you. Come, France, Italy, UK, America, come, we will negotiate with you. Why are you attacking us?"
The alliance has promised to continue operations until all attacks and threats against civilians have ceased, all of Gaddafi's forces have returned to bases and full humanitarian access is granted.
A Nato official noted that Gaddafi's forces had shelled Misrata and tried to mine the city's port just hours before his speech. The city of 300,000 is the main rebel stronghold in western Libya and has been under siege for two months.
With the rebels holding much of eastern Libya, Gaddafi needs to consolidate his hold over the western half, including Misrata and a mountainous region on the border with Tunisia.
"The regime has announced ceasefires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians," said the official who could not be named under standing regulations. "All this has to stop, and it has to stop now," the official said, adding that a ceasefire had to be "credible and verifiable".