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South African president Zuma arrives in Tripoli

South African President Jacob Zuma gestures during the Freedom Day celebrations in Pretoria
South African President Jacob Zuma gestures during the Freedom Day celebrations in Pretoria

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - South African President Jacob Zuma arrived in Tripoli on Monday for talks with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, a meeting some hope could help find a solution to the violence in the country.

Zuma walked down the red carpet at Tripoli's airport to meet assembled dignitaries to the sound of a band and children chanting "We want Gaddafi!" in English, while waving Libyan flags and pictures of the leader. There was no sign of Gaddafi.

Fighting broke out in February between forces loyal to Gaddafi and rebels, chiefly in the east of Libya, seeking to depose him. NATO later intervened in the conflict under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians from Gaddafi's forces.

The U.N. Security Council voted in March to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" -- code for military action -- to protect civilians against Gaddafi's army.

(Reporting by Peter Graff; Writing by Jan Harvey)

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