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Brazil calls for ceasefire in Libya

The Brazilian government called late on Monday for a ceasefire in Libya, where air attacks by the United States and its allies sought to stop the advance of Muammar Gaddafi's forces on rebel-held towns.

world Updated: Mar 22, 2011 11:56 IST

The Brazilian government called late on Monday for a ceasefire in Libya, where air attacks by the United States and its allies sought to stop the advance of Muammar Gaddafi's forces on rebel-held towns.

The goal of a ceasefire should be to protect civilians and pave the way for dialogue between the Libyan government and its opponents, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement made just hours after a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Brazil.

"After regretting the loss of lives because of the conflict in the country, the Brazilian government hopes that an effective cease-fire be implemented as soon as possible to allow the protection of civilians and the start of dialogue," the statement said.

Last week, Brazil, China, India, Germany and Russia abstained from passing a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to impose a no-fly zone in Libya.

Libya's conflict gained momentum in late February after a wave of citizen protests against Gaddafi's government grew into a rebel movement that took control of some territory. Troops loyal to Gaddafi have advanced on rebel-held towns, raising concern over the danger to civilians.

Anti-aircraft fire rang out across Tripoli for a third night on Monday, but air attacks on Libya are likely to slow, a U.S. general said, as Washington holds back from being sucked into the Libyan civil war.

Coalition airstrikes against Libya led by the United States, France and Britain began on Saturday during Obama's visit to Brazil, his first stop on a trip to Latin America. Obama is scheduled to fly to El Salvador from Chile later on Tuesday.