Gaddafi: We Welcome Death

Kompas.com - 08/06/2011, 11:01 WIB
EditorJimmy Hitipeuw

‘We will not kneel!’ he shouted, ‘We will not surrender: we only have one choice – to the end! Death, victory, it does not matter, we are not surrendering!’ In a warning to the West, he added: ‘We are stronger than your weapons, than your planes.’

Last night state TV allegedly showed him meeting with tribal leaders in an unknown location. But in a sign of Gaddafi’s waning influence, both Russia and China revealed yesterday that they have opened talks with the rebel leadership in Benghazi.

Mr Hague also spoke out yesterday against the Syrian crackdown on demonstrators, calling on president Bashar al-Assad to reform or quit – the first time Britain has proposed that the dictator should step down.

There are fears of another massacre in the country after the regime vowed to retaliate against alleged attacks on state forces in the northern town of Jisr al-Shoghour. Further east, Colonel Gaddafi's troops and the rebel forces fighting to overthrow his regime have been in stalemate for weeks.

Allied forces are assisting a four-month old insurgency that has seized swathes of eastern Libya and pockets of the country's west, where the regime has its stronghold.

The revolt against Colonel Gaddafi came after popular uprisings which ousted the long-time rulers of both Tunisia and Egypt, and which continue to reverberate across the Arab world.

But neither side has been able to hold territory on a road between Ajdabiyah, which the colonel's forces shelled yesterday, and the government-held oil town of Brega further west.

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The rebels, led by the National Transitional Council, now control nearly a third of the inhabitable part of Libya. Western governments and rebels say a combination of Nato air strikes, diplomatic isolation and grassroots opposition will eventually bring down the Gaddafi regime.

But the colonel refuses to step down, saying he is supported by all Libyans apart from a minority of 'rats' and al Qaida fighters, and that Nato strikes are a Western plot to steal Libya's oil.

Other world powers are increasingly making diplomatic overtures to the rebels, including Russia and China - despite misgivings about interference in Libya's sovereign affairs.

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