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Rebels seek gadhafi

[ 2011-08-23 10:22]     字号 [] [] []  
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Tanks opened fire at rebels trying to storm Muammar Gadhafi's main compound in Tripoli on Monday, although the whereabouts of the longtime Libyan leader remained unknown a day after a lightning advance by opposition fighters who poured into the Libyan capital with surprising ease.

Libyan government tanks and snipers put up scattered resistance but there was little sign that the rebel offensive was meeting any coordinated opposition.

World leaders were in no doubt that, after six months of an often meandering revolt backed by NATO air power, the disparate and often fractious rebel alliance was about to take control of the North African country with its extensive oil reserves.

US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders urged Gadhafi to accept defeat and prepared to work with the rebels - though the future leadership of Libya still remains unclear.

The EU, whose members had in recent years resolved disputes with Gadhafi in return for energy supplies, welcomed a "new era".

"We are witnessing the last moments of the Gadhafi regime," EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday.

She urged the rebels not to settle scores in blood and to respect human rights and move swiftly toward a new democracy.

South Africa, a leading power on the continent to which Gadhafi devoted much of Libya's wealth and influence, denied it had sent a plane for Gadhafi or was planning to shelter a leader who has been indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said: "We are watching history." But he cited the bloody epilogue to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and warned:

"There is a risk of revenge and uncontrollable violence."

Some analysts also warned of the risk of civil war in what has been the bloodiest campaign in the Arab spring.

The fall of Gadhafi will boost embattled opposition groups in other Middle East countries, notably Syria.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Rebels seek gadhafi

About the broadcaster:

Rebels seek gadhafi

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.