Gaddafi vows to fight to the death

Por • 24 ago, 2011 • Sección: Política

Zhu Shanshan

China on Wednesday urged Libyan rebels to ensure a «stable transition of power,» as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi threatened to drag the war on by vowing to fight to the death.

«We have always attached significance to the important role of the National Transition Council (NTC) in solving Libya’s problems, and maintain contact with it,» China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.

«We hope that the future government will adopt effective measures, draw together the forces of different factions, and restore social order as quickly as possible,» he said, reiterating that Beijing respects the choice of the Libyan people.

Ma’s words followed remarks from Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday that the UN should play a leading role in post-war arrangements for Libya.

«China encourages the UN to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the African Union and the Arab League,» Yang said.

Li Shaoxian, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that the post-Gaddafi era has now begun in Libya, regardless of the strongman’s fate.

«The collapse of the colonel’s regime is just another step for the Arab world in its revival from its rigid political system and malformed economic structure,» Li said.

«Apart from restoring social order and the economy, the NTC must learn to unite different groups and tolerate differences, while standing guard against an insurgency by Gaddafi loyalists,» Li added.

Although the rebels have overrun Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, the whereabouts of the strongman were still unknown, and he vowed on Wednesday to fight to the death or victory.

«I have been out a bit in Tripoli discreetly, without being seen by people, and … I did not feel that Tripoli was in danger,» Gaddafi said, adding that his withdrawal from the headquarters was a tactical move and urged Libyans to cleanse the capital of traitors.

Neither Gaddafi nor any of his family members were captured during the raid on the compound under NATO air support.

The Pentagon said Wednesday that Libya’s stockpile of chemical weapons are «secure» but that an arsenal of thousands of shoulder launched missiles remained cause for concern.

Injuries reportedly mounted as the fighting peaked Tuesday around the compound.

In a letter to the Global Times, Jonathan Whittal, emergency coordinator of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organization working in Libya, said that the shortage of staff and medical facilities are more evident in Tripoli.

«Some hospitals have run out of life-saving medication and equipment. There is little electricity and insufficient fuel to run ambulances and some crucial equipment,» he said.

The current fighting in the city will put strained medical facilities under even more pressure.»

Gaddafi’s spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, said on Wednesday that the strongman was ready to resist the rebels for months or even years.

The NTC said on Wednesday it would give amnesty to any of Gaddafi’s entourage who kill or capture him.

NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil also said a Benghazi businessman, whom he did not identify, had offered a reward of two million Libyan dinars ($1.3 million) for Gaddafi’s capture, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, France and the US are working on a draft resolution aimed at unfreezing $1.5 billion in Libyan assets and unlocking sanctions, a French diplomatic source told Reuters.

French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the NTC must be handed control of its country’s resources. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to meet Jibril in Paris later in the day.

He has also called a «Friends of Libya» conference to be held in Paris next week, which could bring together as many as 30 foreign leaders.

Sarkozy took a gamble before a 2012 presidential election by becoming the first foreign leader to back the rebels and by spearheading the West’s military intervention, Reuters commented.

Right now, the western countries are hurrying to discuss how to deal with the post-Gaddafi era and are eager to grab the fruits of victory, and the purpose of their military intervention will begin to show,» Li said.

«Instead of being dominated by a few Western powers, it is in the interests of the Libyan people to reconstruct their country under the framework of the UN,» he added.

Separately, Ahmed Jehani, a rebel reconstruction leader, told Reuters that the NTC will honor all energy contracts granted legally under Gaddafi’s rule.

Jehani said the NTC would welcome any Chinese investment and financial assistance to help rebuild the country, easing concerns that Chinese and Russian firms could lose out on contracts for not backing the rebellion.

Huang Jingjing and agencies contributed to this story

Global Times | August 25, 2011

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