Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has called on the U.N. Security Council to protect his hometown of Sirte − still held by forces loyal to him − from what he called NATO “atrocities.”
“If Sirte is isolated from the rest of the world in order for atrocities to be committed against it, then the world has a duty not to be absent and you have to take your international responsibility and intervene immediately to stop this crime,” Reuters quoted Qaddafi as saying in a letter read out on Syrian-based Arrai TV.
The TV said the letter was addressed to the U.N. Security Council.
According to Alarabiya correspondent, Qaddafi forces were on the roll arresting citizens in the deposed leader’s hometown of Sirte.
Qaddafi’s whereabouts are not known but he has communicated through Arrai TV several times since he was overthrown on August 23.
But according to Qaddafi’s spokesman, Mousa Ibrahim, the strongman is still in Libya and his morale is “very high” and his army is “strong.”
He added that the fighting is still far from finishing and that Qaddafi forces have thousands of volunteers ready to fight.
Despite the rebels making notable land gains, most importantly, the Red Valley area near Sirte, the spokesman said that Qaddafi forces still control big chunks of the North African country, such as the northern coast and the western region. He said Qaddafi forces control the entire south.
US shows support
Washington respects the right of Libyans to decide their own future, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday in Tripoli, as the African Union pushed for an inclusive government after Qaddafi’s ouster.
“The United States respects Libya’s sovereignty,” AFP reported Jeffrey Feltman, the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the Libyan capital since its capture from Qaddafi’s forces on August 23, as saying.
“A guideline of our partnership with the Libyan people will be always be respect for Libya’s independence and sovereignty,” the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs told a news conference.
“This is a victory by the Libyan people and Libya’s destiny must be decided by Libyans alone,” he said after meeting the head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
His visit came as a top-level team from the African Union, which has refused to recognize the NTC, began to discuss ways to press for an inclusive Libyan government at a gathering in Pretoria, South Africa.
Britain and UN sanctions
Britain has circulated a draft resolution that would ease U.N. sanctions against Libya to members of the Security Council and hopes to vote on it this week, diplomats said on Wednesday.
The draft would have the council begin lifting six-month-old punitive measures imposed on Libya when its former leader was overseeing a crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators across the country.
According to the draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, the resolution would ask the 15-nation council to ease sanctions against Libya’s National Oil Corp and central bank to enable those two key institutions to start functioning.
The draft would have the council declare “its determination to ensure that assets frozen pursuant to (U.N. sanctions resolutions) shall as soon as possible be made available to and for the benefit of the people of Libya.”
The National Oil Corp would become free of sanctions, which should enable the oil-producing OPEC member to begin exporting crude more easily once the resolution is approved. But some of the sanctions on other firms would remain in place.
Assets of the central bank, the Libyan Foreign Bank, Libyan Investment Authority, and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio that have been frozen abroad by U.N. member states are to remain frozen for the time being, unless they have been exempted from the freeze by the council’s sanctions committee.
Such assets, the draft says, can only be released on the basis of a decision of the Security Council’s Libya sanctions committee, which one senior Security Council diplomat said has already unfrozen $16 billion of Libyan assets to date.
The council diplomat described the easing as a “progressive or controlled lifting of the asset freeze.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added that Britain, the drafter of the resolution, hoped to put it to a vote by Friday.
Source: Al Arabiya