Libya: NATO kills Muslim theologians
Laaska News May 14,2011
Most victims of the NATO bombing of the city of Marsa El Brega (800km east of Tripoli) are local theologians, an eye-witness reported to the state Jamahiriya TV. He said that the blow was struck at dawn on Friday on a small hotel where a group of Islamic sheikhs was staying. All of them had arrived there to take part in religious rites.
According to the Libyan TV, 16 people were killed and 40 injured as a result of the raid.
Laaska News May 14,2011
The Western interference in Libya may further encourage the revolts in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, setting off untold turmoil across the Muslim world.
Foreign Minister Lavrov made this warning on Friday during a visit to Almaty in Kazakhstan.
He also said Russia and all other members of the BRICS group which brings this country together with India, China, South Africa and Brazil believe that the anti-Gaddafi coalition has grossly overstepped its UN mandate in Libya, and the crisis in that North African country must be settled through talks.
Laaska News May 13,2011
Russia welcomes the initiative of the U.S to free up Muammar Gaddafi`s frozen assets to help Libya’s opposition as this does not run counter to the earlier approved UN resolutions, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexei Sazonov said.
He stressed, however, that the procedure itself must be supervised by the UN so that the released money is spent to support those citizens who took the side of the opposition and not to supply arms to Libya.
War On Libya & Its Reaction
Laaska News May 13,2011 More New
NATO keeps bombing Tripoli as Libyan rebels seek legitimacy, aid
TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI, May 13 (Xinhua) — NATO warplanes continued to rain bombs on the Libyan capital of Tripoli Thursday, causing further civilian casualties and damage, as Libyan opposition forces are seeking more international recognition and aid.
At least three civilians were killed, including two local journalists and a local official, during a NATO raid early Thursday that targeted Tripoli, according to Libyan government spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim.
He said the two journalists and the official were making a documentary about the hundreds of Libyan civilians sleeping in Gaddafi’s compound to show support for their leader when missiles landed in the area and killed them.
The bombing came hours after Gaddafi’s first TV appearance Wednesday almost two weeks after one of his sons was killed in NATO air raids on April 30, showing he was meeting with several tribal leaders. It was seen as the Libyan government’s attempt to dispel rumors that Gaddafi was already dead.
Ibrahim said the air strikes were aimed at pressuring Gaddafi to end his 42-year rule.
“All they want is to break our morale, to cause death and destruction everywhere,” Ibrahim said. “People are being killed, every single day, every single night.”
Libya’s state television also said Thursday that a NATO air strike caused damage to the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in Tripoli.
Officials at the embassy confirmed to Xinhua that a number of cars were destroyed and windows of a building were also shattered during the air strike late Tuesday.
But NATO has denied it attacked the DPRK’s embassy, saying their target was a military compound in the capital.
“Last night, NATO attacked a large command and control bunker complex in downtown Tripoli that was used to coordinate attacks against civilian populations and successfully hit the targets we were aiming at,” said an alliance official.
He said the DPRK embassy was located some 500 meters from the target NATO struck. However, he admitted collateral damage would always exist.
Libyan opposition forces said Thursday that anti-Gaddafi demonstrations were staged in many neighborhoods in Tripoli. Protesters burned a police station in a suburb and set up night patrols and checkpoints in other neighborhoods.
While NATO has been persistently dropping bombs, Libya opposition forces are busy trying to gain more international recognition for its National Transitional Council (NTC).
The rebels, running short of ammunition and money, are also fighting the pro-Gaddafi forces some 40 km west of Misrata.
Opposition spokesman Abdel Hafed Ghoga told Xinhua in Benghazi that the lack of weapons was their major obstacle to achieving breakthroughs on the front lines.
Currently, France, Italy, Qatar, Gambia and Maldives have recognized the NTChave recognized the NTC while the European Union (EU), the United States, and Spain have sent envoys to Benghazi to assist the NTC.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a meeting with visiting NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil Thursday that Britain would invite the rebels to set up an office in London.
He said Britain was completing plans to transfer several millions of pounds worth of equipment to Benghazi police and to help improve the council’s public broadcasting capacities.
The NTC is also sending its chief diplomat Mahmud Jibril to the United States to court U.S. recognition. He is expected to meet at the White House on Friday with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.
In an interview with CNN television, he said the NTC wants Washington to recognize the council as “the sole legitimate interlocutor of the Libyan people.”
Jibril also appealed to Washington for help as they were “running almost out of money.”
Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the air campaign in Libya had already cost the U.S. roughly 750 million U.S. dollars, which surpassed the Pentagon’s initial estimate of 604 million.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a Moscow newspaper Thursday that the coalition’s operation against the Libyan government has gone beyond what UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 could mandate.
The NATO-led campaign “openly employs double standards,” stopping humanitarian cargo ships and taking a one-sided stand in the conflict, he said.
Lavrov urged an immediate ceasefire in Libya and the start of mediatory efforts by the African Union and the United Nations. He also warned that the prolonged conflict would bring “catastrophic consequences, including break-up of Libya.”
Top White House official to meet with Libyan opposition leader
WASHINGTON, May 12 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will meet with Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Gibril on Friday as the opposition forces made gains on the ground, the White House said Thursday.
In his first official visit to Washington as president of the Interim Transitional National Council’s Executive Bureau, Gibril will also meet with other senior U.S. government officials and members of Congress, the White House said.
The visit came as Libyan opposition forces made significant advances against government troops in the besieged city of Misrata in western Libya, including capturing the airport and large swaths of territory around the city.
NATO has stepped up its bombing campaign against Libyan government troops and improved coordination with the opposition.
Laaska News May 12,2011
British prime minister holds talks with Libyan rebel leader
LONDON, May 12 (Xinhua) — British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday invited the rebel Libyan Interim National Transitional Council to establish a London office during a meeting with council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil.
Cameron said the British presence in the opposition-held port of Benghazi would also be boosted.
Cameron said the British presence in the opposition-held port of Benghazi would also be boosted.
“These steps continue our very clear intention to work with the council to ensure Libya has a safe and stable future, free from the tyranny of the Gaddafi regime,” the prime minister said.
Camerson said Britain is completing plans to transfer several million pounds worth of equipment to the police in Benghazi and also will help improve the council’s public broadcasting capacities.
Cameron said he and Jalil discussed events in Libya and how to build the future that the Libyan people deserved.
“It is impossible to imagine a real future for Libya with Gaddafi in power,” Camerson said, “The council represents the future of Libya as much as (Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi represents its past.”
Jalil said he came to London to express gratitude to the British people and their government “for their discipline and moral stand” in supporting the rebellion.
“This stand was not based on any benefit that the British government may derive from this support,” he said. “It is a humanitarian position. I assure you that you will never regret taking this stand.”
Jalil met with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and also was scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said in a statement that “the NTC is a legitimate representative of the Libyan people.”
“The situation in Libya remains of very serious concern, and this visit provides a welcome opportunity to discuss with Jalil the latest situation on the ground,” Hague said, “and to look at how Britain and international community can continue to support the Libyan people.”
The British government has urged Gaddafi to stand down immediately and initiate a real ceasefire, so that the legitimate needs of Libya’s people can be met, Hague said.
British PM invites Libyan rebels to open office in London
LONDON, May 12 (Xinhua) — British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday invited Libyan rebel leader to open an office in London.
Cameron made the decision after meeting with Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) at the Downing Street No. 10.
In addition, Cameron said Britain will further supply non-lethal equipment for police officers in Libya.
He said “these steps continue our very clear intention to work with the council to ensure Libya has a safe and stable future, free from the tyranny of the Gaddafi regime.”
Jalil will also meet with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Polish FM visits Libyan opposition base, with no formal recognition
BENGHAZI, Libya, May 11 (Xinhua) — Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on Wednesday visited the base of Libyan opposition, the first European foreign minister visiting here, but he did not formally announce the formal recognition of the National Transitional Council (NTC) neither by Poland nor the European Union.
After meeting with the NTC’s vice chairman and spokesman Abdel Hafed Ghoga, Sikorski told reporters that he had came to Benghazi in consultation with European Union’s vice president and high representative for foreign affairs policy.
However, Sikorski denied Poland or the EU now formally recognized the NTC, saying that Poland is fully in line with EU’s decision two months ago recognizing the NTC as a legitimate interlocutor.
The Polish foreign minister’s visit came as Ashton announced earlier on Wednesday that EU will open an office in Benghazi to support the NTC and help for security sector reform and institution-building.
“My presence here is a proof that Poland has forged practical contact with the council,” said Sikorski.
Sikorski assured that both Poland and the EU will provide support in political, humanitarian and cadre training, etc..
“On behalf of Poland and the EU I promise you, you will get that assistance,” said Sikorski. He also assured that after taking the presidency of the EU on the first of July, Poland will show our energy in helping democratic aspirations of Libya.
Sikorski asked Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to relinquish the reigns of power as the best thing that now he can do for Libya.
“40 some years has been enough, he now needs to give a chance to other people, to people who has made their choice,” said.
The Benghazi-based opposition NTC is now busy fighting against pro-Gaddafi forces in Misrata as well as seeking international recognition and support.
To date France, Italy, Qatar and Kuwait are the only four countries that recognize the NTC as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
Laaska News May 11,2011
UN fed up with violence in Syria and Libya
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Syria and Libya to stop violent suppressing mass protests in the countries.
He stated this during a press-conference in Geneva on Wednesday.
He also reproached the countries for not giving UN staff access to the needy in the areas of unrest and urged cooperation.
He also called for an “immediate, verifiable ceasefire” in Lybia.
EU to open office in Benghazi to back Libya opposition
BRUSSELS, May 11 (Xinhua) — The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in Strasbourg on Wednesday that the EU was planning to open an office in Benghazi, the Libyan opposition’s base camp.
Ashton addressed the European Parliament that the EU intends to open an office in Benghazi, “so we can move forward on the support to the people, to support civil society, to support the Interim Transitional National Council”.
Ashton’s deputy spokesman Maya Kocijancic confirmed the proposal in a telephone interview, without further details and comments.
First batch of US aid for rebels arrives in Libya
The first batch of non-military U.S. assistance to the Libyan opposition is to be delivered to the port city of Benghazi where the Transitional National Council is based. This was announced on Tuesday by State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
According to Toner the rebels will receive more than 10,000 food rations and will be soon be sent medical supplies and protective equipment.
It is expected that one of the leaders of the rebels, Mahmoud Jibril, is to visit Washington this week.
The Obama Administration announced in April that it will allocate $ 25 million to provide non-military assistance to the opposition in Libya.
According to one member of the Senate, the provision for providing such support, in the future, may open the door to providing the rebels with weapons.
Laaska News May 10,2011
New UN Security Council resolution on Libya needed