'Desperate PM tried to stop strikes'

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 Gadhafi’s leadership to tell the truth.

“Last night, the Libyan prime minister urgently called me saying 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 Gadhafi’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 Gadhafi.

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