UN chief Ban Ki-moon told how Libya's prime minister made a "desperate" bid on the eve of international military attacks to get him to stop the offensive.
Ban told the Paris crisis summit on Libya about the telephone call from Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, a UN spokesman said. Later Ban told reporters how he had lost confidence in the ability of Moamer Kadhafi's "leadership to tell the truth.
"Last night, the Libyan Prime Minister urgently called me saying that they will strictly abide by Resolution 1973. He asked me to intervene to stop military action on the part of the international community. "Frankly he sounded rather desperate," Ban told the presidents and prime ministers at the summit which was held just before the first air strikes were staged in line with a UN Security Council resolution passed on Thursday.
The prime minister urged the UN secretary general to send a monitoring team to check that Kadhafi's forces had stopped their offensive against rebel fighters, according to the UN spokesman's account. Ban later told reporters that he had found the phone call "troubling". "He told me that the Libyan government was fully abiding by the Security Council resolution and there will be an immediate ceasefire.
"But at the same time and overnight they were attacking Benghazi. It is very troubling, whatever they say must be verified." He also made public his doubts about Kadhafi. Ban had one stormy telephone conversation with Kadhafi after the crackdown on opposition protests started last month.
Since then he had asked himself "questions about whether I could have a constructive and meaningful dialogue with him." The UN leader said he would assess events over the next few days before deciding whether to send a humanitarian team and his special envoy back to Tripoli.