Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets 'Tor' network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Africa

Rebels vow to mark end of Ramadan without Gaddafi

Text by Sarah LEDUC

Latest update : 2011-08-17

According to the Libyan National Transition Council’s ambassador in France, the rebels’ victory against pro-Gaddafi forces is imminent; are the days of the country’s longtime ruler numbered?

"The Libya of tomorrow” seems to be Mansour Seif al-Nasr’s motto these days. According to the Libyan National Transition Council’s ambassador to France, the defeat of Libya’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi by rebel forces may just be days away.

“Victory is close,” al-Nasr told FRANCE 24. “Our fighters, who are still oppressed by Gaddafi’s dictatorship in Tripoli, have decided that the end of Ramadan will be celebrated at the same time as our victory,” he said in a televised interview on Wednesday. The holy month of Ramadan will end later this month.

Al-Nasr was already optimistic during an earlier interview with FRANCE 24 on August 10: “We’re gaining ground each day, even though the enemy respects no rules and is planting its tanks and heavy artillery in schools, hospitals, gardens, and even private homes.”

Libyan rebels say that after a series of military victories against Gaddafi’s troops, they are now in the final phase of their operations. According to French news agency AFP, the insurgents announced last Monday that they controlled the “major part” of Zawiyah, 40 kilometres to the west of Tripoli, as well as Gharyan (50 kilometres south of the capital) and Sorman (60 kilometres west of Tripoli). The battles resulted in 23 deaths in Zawiyah and 15 others in the eastern city of Brega.

Next stop: Tripoli

The military successes have moved the rebels closer to Tripoli. Al-Nasr says that there are fighters in the capital waiting to join the rebels in due course.

“The capital, which rebelled at the beginning [of the revolution, last February], was brought back under Gaddafi’s control by his planes and tanks,” al-Nasr explained. “But now things have changed. We’re in contact with our compatriots in Tripoli who have been expressing their support.”

That assessment is shared by Washington. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently noted that “it is becoming increasingly clear that Muammar Gaddafi’s days are numbered”. Meanwhile, NATO condemned in a statement last Sunday’s launch of a Scud missile against rebels as “irresponsible and desperate”.

Secret negotiations between regime and rebels?

The conflict is also said to have entered a decisive phase in Djerba, where discreet negotiations have been held since Sunday. The UN special envoy to Libya, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, left Tunisia on Tuesday after a 24-hour visit during which he allegedly met Libyan representatives, as rumours circulated that negotiations between rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces had begun.

Several sources reported that secret talks were held in Djerba on Sunday and involved, according to Tunisian secret service, members of Libya’s National Transition Council. That information was confirmed by a Tunisian radio station.

Meanwhile, however, it is impossible to verify whether talks have been held and who were the participants. In a statement, the UN denied that its envoy had participated in the discussions in Djerba. “Abdul al-Khatib arrived in Tunisia for meetings with Tunisian officials,” the statement read.

The National Transition Council, for its part, categorically denies that it has had any negotiations with pro-Gaddafi forces. “We have no one at this time who is negotiating with Mr. al-Khatib,” Mansour Seif am-Nasr said during his interview on FRANCE 24. “But the Libya of the National Transition Council is a free Libya. Its people are free to move around and to speak with whom they please. So maybe there are people who are negotiating with him, but they only represent themselves.”

After Gaddafi: a “free and democratic” Libya

Only one thing will end the fighting raging in Libya for nearly six months, according to the National Transition Council: the departure of Gaddafi and his family.

“Gaddafi can go where he wants,” said al-Nasr. “If he wishes to stay, we guarantee that justice will be free and fair. For the moment, if he wants to save human lives, he can just leave,” al-Nasr said. That statement contradicts remarks he made last week, “nothing can guarantee his security, after all the crimes he’s responsible for”, if Gaddafi chooses to stick to power.

The National Transition Council has said it will hold on to power for no more than eight months after Gaddafi’s regime crumbles. According to their “constitutional declaration”, power will be handed over to an elected assembly. The declaration also provides for the drafting of a new Constitution.

“The Libya of tomorrow will be free, democratic, with transparent elections, social justice, respect of human rights and of citizens,” al-Nasr said. “Gaddafi divided in order to conquer, but the Libya of tomorrow will not be divided.”

Date created : 2011-08-18

  • LIBYA

    Rebels dismiss reports of secret talks with Gaddafi

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Rebels continue push toward capital Tripoli

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Gaddafi makes defiant address as key city falls

    Read more

COMMENT(S)