Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

France concerned about anti-Semitism

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Kerry arrives in Israel to push for Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Netherlands to honour MH17 victims in national day of mourning

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

Africa

Sarkozy and Cameron get hero's welcome in Benghazi

Video by Josh Vardey , Aude Soufi

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-15

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to a "free Libya" on Thursday during a visit to the former rebel stronghold of Benghazi, where they were given a rapturous welcome.

REUTERS - Hundreds of Libyans waving French and British flags and chanting anti-Muammar Gaddafi slogans mobbed President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Flying in from Tripoli, where they had also been given a rapturous welcome, the two men

FRANCE 24 DEBATE: Mission accomplished in Libya?

met crowds thanking them for the NATO campaign that helped end Gaddafi’s 42-year rule.

Residents carrying photos of people killed during the uprising gathered to see Sarkozy and Cameron speak outside an empty Benghazi courthouse where the first protests began in February.

"If we could give them anything, we would—our lives, our souls," said 70-year-old Hajja, wearing the Libyan independence flag wrapped around her body.

"If it wasn’t for them, we would be history."

After nearly seven months of fighting, Libyan interim government forces backed by NATO air power control most of Libya, including major oil-producing centres and the capital, which they seized last month.

However they have met fierce resistance in a handful of pro-Gaddafi bastions including the ousted leader’s birthplace Sirte, the desert town of Bani Walid and southern outpost of Sabha. Muammar Gaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court, is also missing.

European leaders vow to release billions of dollars in frozen assets

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday said his government would look to unfreeze a further 12 billion pounds ($18.9 billion)in Libyan assets if a United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya was passed.

“We (Britain) have already unfrozen a billion pounds worth of assets and if we can pass the U.N. resolution that we will be putting forward with France tomorrow, there’s a further 12 billion pounds of assets in the UK alone that we will be looking to unfreeze,” Cameron told a news conference in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Reuters
 

Benghazi, 1,000 km east of Tripoli, is home to Libya’s National Transitional Council and was a seat of the revolt.

"Colonel Gaddafi said he would hunt you down like rats, but you showed the courage of lions, and we salute your courage," Cameron bellowed above the chanting in Benghazi’s Freedom Square.

But it was the French premier, one of the first leaders to back the anti-Gaddafi movement, who got the loudest cheers. Residents sang "1,2,3 Merci Sarkozy" and hoisted banners with slogans such as "Mr. Sarkozy, Benghazi vous aime" (Benghazi loves you).

Some in the crowd, however, voiced concerns about Libya’s future. Holding a placard that said "Yes to federalism, no to centralisation," 25-year-old Anise said he was afraid that Benghazi would be marginalised in the new Libya.

Another banner read "We want consulates of (the) UK and France in Benghazi."

Despite the sweeping and sudden nature of their victory in Tripoli two weeks ago, Libya’s new leadership is still struggling to impose its authority across the capital and the rest of the sprawling, oil-producing desert nation.

Senior figures from cities central to the revolt, such as Benghazi and Misrata have voiced fears that power will be concentrated in Tripoli in the new Libya, despite NTC reassurances of fair treatment.

Date created : 2011-09-15

  • LIBYA

    Sarkozy and Cameron pledge support on Tripoli visit

    Read more

  • SAHEL NATIONS

    Libya's neighbours fear 'powder keg' scenario

    Read more

  • UK - LIBYA

    Britain to probe reports of secret renditions to Libya

    Read more

COMMENT(S)