Gaddafi gives speech
Photo: AP
Protests in Benghazi
Photo: AP

Libyan diplomat: Gaddafi has hours left

Recently resigned Libyan representative to Arab League, Italy's Berlusconi both say embattled Gaddafi regime no longer controls large parts of country. Meanwhile Erdogan speaks out against planned UN sanctions

The recently resigned Libyan representative to the Arab League, Abd Al-Mun'im al-Huni, said Saturday that "the regime in Libya is in its final hours". Muammar Gaddafi no longer controls large parts of Tripoli, he added.


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also commented on the deteriorating situation in Libya, saying the leader does not seem to be in control of the country any more.


"It appears that, effectively, Gaddafi no longer controls the situation in Libya," Berlusconi told a political meeting in Rome.


In an interview published Saturday by London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, al-Huni said Gaddafi is in dire straits and that he had sent calls of assistance to his tribesmen in the coastal city of Sirte.


The tribe sent 30 armored vehicles armed with machine guns, al-Huni explained, but anti-government protesters prevented their arrival in the capital. He added that Gaddafi currently controls just a small part of Tripoli – his estate and four camps.


The Libyan diplomat said protesters were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to get rid of the leader. "It's only a matter of time," he said. "Gaddafi has just hours left."


The reviled leader has also made an effort to negotiate with the West, al-Huni claimed, offering to get rid of al-Qaeda in exchange for remaining in power. "But the West recognizes these efforts as nothing but a broken record," he said.


Reports coming from Libyan citizens Saturday said Gaddafi's regime was arming civilian supporters to set up checkpoints and roving patrols around Tripoli to control movement and quash dissent.


Rebels hold a long sweep of about half of Libya's 1,600- kilometer Mediterranean coastline where most of the population lives, and even captured a brigadier general and a soldier Saturday as the Libyan army tried to retake an air base east of Tripoli.


'UN concerned about oil, not people'

The international community stepped up its response to the bloodshed, while Americans and other foreigners were evacuated from the chaos roiling the North African nation. 


President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday freezing assets held by Gaddfi and four of his children in the United States. The Treasury Department said the sanctions against Gaddafi, three of his sons and a daughter also apply to the Libyan government.


"By any measure, Moammar Gadhafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable," President Barack Obama said in a statement announcing the penalties. He said they were designed to target Gadhafi's government and protect the assets of Libya's people from being looted.


The White House had held back while US citizens remained in Libya. That changed Friday after the successful evacuations of embassy personnel and other US citizens on a chartered airplane and a ferry to Malta.


On Saturday, UN diplomats said a new resolution on Libyan sanctions includes an arms embargo, as well as travel bans and asset freezes for the country's top 23 leaders.


The diplomats said the Security Council has already discussed the proposal, which was drafted by France and Britain, and is similar in content to the proposal approved by the European Union on Friday. The council is expected to vote on the resolution in the next 24 hours.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke out against the sanctions, warning that the Libyan people would suffer most, not Gaddafi's regime.


He also suggested Saturday that the international community was acting out of concern about Libya's oil reserves and not its people. "We call on the international community to act with conscience, justice, laws and universal humane values, not out of oil concerns," he said.



פרסום ראשון: 02.26.11, 16:27
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