Colonel Gaddafi has accepted a trace plan for Libya after South African President Jacob Zuma proposed an African Union peace proposal to end the eight-week-old conflict.

Under Zuma’s peace deal, Libya leader Gaddafi will have to agree to an immediate ceasefire, unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid, protection of foreign nationals, dialogue between the government and rebels on a political settlement.

Nato airstrikes will be suspended under the truce plan. Western countries involved in the Nato operations have not yet commented.

Zuma met Gaddafi for several hours at his Bab al-Aziziyah compound, along with four other African heads of state.

“The brother leader [Col Gaddafi] delegation has accepted the roadmap as presented by us,” Zuma said after the meeting.

“We have to give the ceasefire a chance.”

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However a rebel spokesperson said the truce would not go head unless Col Gaddafi stepped down and his forces withdrew.

Another rebel told AFP news agency: “The people must be allowed to go into the streets to express their opinion and the soldiers must return to their barracks.”

“The world has seen these offers of ceasefires before and within 15 minutes [Col Gaddafi] starts shooting again,” he added.

Over the weekend, pro-Gaddafi forces in Ajdabiya have pushed back rebels in fierce fighting. Nato said it destroyed 25 government tanks on Sunday alone.

Ajdabiya is important to Gaddafi’s opposition as it controls a strategic crossroads and is the last town before the main rebel city of Benghazi.