Gaddafi agrees to stay out of Libyan negotiations

African leaders have said that Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to stay out of negotiations on ending...

Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi gestures as he enters the U.N. headquarters for the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2009. AFP

African leaders have said that Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to stay out of negotiations on ending Libya's four-month conflict.

However, the pressure is increasing on him with rebels approaching the capital Tripoli and World Court judges in The Hague ruling on Monday on whether to issue an arrest warrant against him for crimes against humanity.

The breakthrough was announced by African Union (AU) Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra after Sunday's African Summit in Pretoria.

"The AU high level ad hoc committee welcomes Colonel Gaddafi's acceptance of not being part of the negotiation process," he said.

Neither the commissioner nor his host, President Jacob Zuma and the leaders of Mauritania, Mali and Uganda took any questions before leaving.

Officials said they have failed to get the public statement they sought from Gaddafi, but they were adamant his withdrawal meets the rebels' basic demand for entering the peace negotiations, the African leaders say should begin immediately.