Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared in public for the first time in weeks late Monday to welcome South Africa President Jacob Zuma. The latter told Libyan media the embattled leader wanted a ceasefire including an end to NATO strikes.
Speaking in Tripoli Zuma added: "We discussed the necessity of giving the Libyan people the opportunity to solve their problem on their own."
The visit comes as a group of senior Libyan army officers who defected from Gaddafi's regime appealed to fellow troops to join the rebels. The eight officers, including five generals, have issued their plea from Rome.
Italian Foreign Ministry officials presented the generals, two colonels and a major to reporters in the Italian capital- three days after they had fled Libya. One of the defecting officers, who identified himself as General Oun Ali Oun, told reporters: "What is happening to our people has frightened us."