Africa

Libyan envoys meet world leaders

Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi
Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi Reuters/Huseyin Dogan

Leaders from France, Greece, Portugal and Egypt are expected to meet with envoys of Libyan leader Moamar Kadhafi on Thursday, ahead of the emergency European Union summit scheduled in Brussels on Friday.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to meet with Mahmud Jibril and Ali al-Essawi of Libya’s rebel council on Thursday to discuss “the general situation in Libya, in particular the humanitarian situation and the action of Libya’s national transition council".

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

Libya’s deputy foreign minister Mohammed Taher Siyala planned talks with Greece’s Dimitris Dollis.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, whose country has long had ties with neighbouring Libya, urged Kadhafi to resolve the crisis peacefully in a telephone call on Tuesday.

Portugal’s Foreign Minister Luis Amado is scheduled to meet with envoys to seek help against Kadhafi.

Another member of the Kadhafi regime, Major General Abdelrahman al-Zawi, landed in Cairo on Wednesday as Arab League foreign ministers were preparing to meet to discuss a no-fly zone over Libya.

Discussions on the necessity of a no-fly zone over Libya have been increasing.

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said on Thursday that wiping out Libya’s air defence system was not the only means of implementing a no-fly zone over the country.

Fox said that such attacks would require a strong legal basis plus international and regional support.

His comments are in contrast to those of his US counterpart Robert Gates, who said that establishing a no-fly zone would  entail an attack on Libyan territory.

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Other news coming out of Libya:

  • The north-western city of Zawiyah, near Tripoli, is reported to be back under Kadhafi’s control, according to a witness talking to the AFP news agency by telephone.
  • A Libyan fighter jet carried out an air strike on Thursday, supposedly targeting rebel positions in the eastern, oil-rich town of Ras Lanuf. The missile appeared to land in the desert and it was not clear whether or not there were any casualties, although four people have reportedly been injured.
  • Russia announced Thursday that it was banning all weapons sales to Libya, in its support of UN sanctions against Kadhafi’s regime. Russia is a key arms exporter to the Middle East.
  • International officials said that refugees fleeing Libya were possibly being barred from crossing the border into Tunisia, since numbers as low as 3,000 were recorded on Tuesday. In previous days, as many as 10,000 people flooded across the border.
  • All 10,000 Vietnamese workers have escaped Libya’s political turmoil, with the last of 10 special flights touching down in Hanoi on Wednesday.

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