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Libyan forces prepare major knockout

[ 2011-03-18 10:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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Libyan forces were mobilizing for a major knockout against rebels to recapture rebel strongholds of Benghazi and Misrata as the world is mulling a no-fly zone over the unrest-torn North African country.

Libyan government forces have called on rebel militants to lay down their weapons and have promised to pardon anyone who would give up resistance. They also urged residents in the two cities to leave rebel-held locations and arms storage areas.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday that the action by the UN Security Council should stabilize the situation in the country, terminate violence against civilians as soon as possible and pay attention to concerns from Arab and African countries. Holding the council's rotating presidency, China immediately called for it to consult about the issue after a request from Arabic members and play a constructive role in the consultation, Jiang said.

China always advocates that Libya's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected, and the issue should be solved through dialogue peacefully. The discussion of relevant issues is ongoing and no agreement has been reached among the council's members, she said.

On Wednesday, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam said government forces were approaching the largest rebel stronghold of Benghazi and all military operations against the rebels would be over in 48 hours.

Saif al-Islam told reporters that Benghazi, the second-largest city in the country, would fall whether the UN Security Council agreed to impose a no-fly zone or not. "Everything will be over in 48 hours," he declared. Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim said earlier about 3,000 rebel militants were still fighting in Benghazi.

Witnesses said on Wednesday that a military airfield southeast of Benghazi was bombed. In Misrata, 150 km east of Tripoli and the country's third-largest city, residents said government forces launched a fierce offensive with tanks and artillery from three directions. Water supplies halted in several neighborhoods.

Gadhafi said his forces would fight a "decisive battle" on Thursday to recapture Misrata and called on loyalists to take up arms to join the army.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Libyan forces prepare major knockout

About the broadcaster:

Libyan forces prepare major knockout

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.