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German FM Guido Westerwelle in Bani Ghazi Recognizing the Libyan National Transitional Council

NATO jets continue Libya strikes

Press TV, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:27AM

A smoke and dust cloud rises into the sky after a NATO airstrike hits a target in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on June 7, 2011. NATO warplanes continue their air offensive against Libya amid intense fighting between revolutionary forces and troops loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The Libyan state television reported on Monday that NATO jets have bombarded targets in the central town of al-Jufrah, Reuters said.

It, however, gave no details about intended targets, accuracy of the hits or any possible casualties.

NATO has conducted hundreds of sorties over Libya since it assumed control of a military campaign to impose a no-fly zone over the country and save civilian lives in late March.

This is while reports say that scores of civilians as well as revolutionaries have been killed in the UN-mandated aerial offensives.

The recent development comes as Gaddafi loyalists stepped up attacks against revolutionary forces near the strategically important eastern town of Brega on Monday.

At least 21 opposition fighters were killed in the attack, the AFP reported.

The front lines between Brega and Ajdabiyah have been relatively quiet in recent weeks while fighting has raged in western areas -- specifically in the opposition-held city of Misratah.

On Monday, power generators of an oil refinery in Misratah were hit by several rockets. It is not yet clear who may have been behind the attack.

Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, Germany has joined around a dozen other countries to recognize the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

Libya has been the scene of fierce fighting between pro-Gaddafi troops and anti-regime forces since mid-February.

Revolutionary forces want an end to Gaddafi's decades-long rule.


Germany gives official recognition to Libya's rebels

By News Wires (text)

France 24, June 13, 2011


German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Monday that Germany had recognised the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Libyan people.

Germany on Monday gave official recognition to Libya's rebels, amid a surge in fighting across the country and as strongman Moamer Kadhafi said over a chess game he would not step down.

Mikhail Margelov, the special envoy of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said in Moscow meanwhile he would visit Tripoli next week to hold talks on the Libya conflict.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said after meeting rebel leaders in their capital Benghazi that Germany recognises their National Transitional Council as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Libyan people.

"We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without Kadhafi," he added.

Germany becomes the 13th nation to recognise the NTC as "sole legitimate representative," after Australia, Britain, France, Gambia, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Qatar, Senegal, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Berlin abstained from a UN Security Council resolution vote on March 17 backing intervention in Libya and chose not to join the NATO-led air war in support of the rebels.

But German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said last week his country would be ready to consider sending peacekeeping troops to Libya if and when strongman Kadhafi falls from power.

Kadhafi, however, remains adamant he will not step down, according to the head of the World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who said that during a game of chess in Tripoli on Sunday the strongman insisted he had no position of power to relinquish.

"I am neither premier nor president nor king. I do not hold any post in Libya and therefore I have no position which I should give up," Ilyumzhinov quoted Kadhafi as telling him during a two-hour meeting and the chess game.

"Kadhafi stated that he is not going to leave Libya, stressing that it is his motherland and a land where his children and grandchildren died."

The chessboard encounter came as fighting between Kadhafi's forces and rebels raged across Libya, with casualties reported in the western town of Zintan and the strategic oil hub of Brega in the east.

Battles were also being fought in the Berber mountains southwest of Tripoli, in nearby Yafran, and at Dafnia near Misrata, Libya's third city, rebel sources told AFP.

An AFP correspondent said Kadhafi's forces pounded the outskirts of Zintan on Sunday, killing at least seven rebels.

Government forces posted a few kilometres (miles) east of Zintan, which remains under rebel control, fired Grad and Katyusha rockets at the town.

The AFP reporter said after visiting the local hospital that at least seven Libyan rebels were killed and 49 wounded in the bombardment.

And in the east of the country, which is largely under the control of the insurgents, a rebel commander told AFP that four of his fighters were killed and 30 wounded in clashes on Sunday with Kadhafi's forces on the frontline between the towns of Ajdabiya and Brega.

Intense rocket fire and shelling rocked an area half-way between Ajdabiya and Brega early on Sunday but "all is calm this morning," Mussa al-Mograbi said on Monday, contacted by telephone.

NATO said it was taking "necessary action" to protect civilians.

"NATO is monitoring the situation closely and is taking necessary action to protect civilians," a statement by the western alliance said.

"Along the north-west coast of Libya between Tripoli and the Tunisian border Libyans long tired of Kadhafi rule are challenging his legitimacy openly, and in doing so, are under threat of attack," it said.

In Tripoli, the regime spokesman said its forces had eliminated rebel "pockets of resistance" at Zawiyah west of the capital.

Mussa Ibrahim told reporters that Kadhafi's forces had "total control" of the area from Ajdabiya in the east to the Tunisian border in the west.

He denied reports that the rebels were gaining ground, while at the same time acknowledging clashes at Zawiyah but playing down their intensity.

"It is pockets of resistance. The rebels there are no more than a hundred. The army has killed some of them, captured others and is negotiating the surrender of others," Ibrahim said.

He also reiterated that the regime rejected any talks about Kadhafi leaving the country.

"No one has the right to demand that the leader stand down. No one can come here with a plan that includes his departure," he said, adding such an idea is "immoral, illegal and has no sense."

Russian envoy Margelov said he was preparing for a visit to Tripoli, but did not make it clear if he would meet with Kadhafi.

"Currently we are finishing talks alongside the Russian foreign ministry on the security of my trip to Tripoli," he told the RIA Novosti news agency.

Margelov last week met the opposition in their Benghazi stronghold, as Russia positions itself as a possible mediator in the conflict.

Reporter's notebook in Libya Benghazi: The long, loud road to revolution

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK - LIBYA Benghazi's Tahrir Square: Times Square style meets revolutionary zeal

LIBYA France formally recognises Libyan rebels' authority

Date created : 13/06/2011

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