Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Qadhafi says he is still in Tripoli

Libya's leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi has labelled foreign news agencies “dogs”, and dismissed reports that he has fled abroad amid protests sweeping the country. In an interview with State TV, Qadhafi said: "I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe these channels - they are dogs." Qadhafi's television appearance came shortly after Libyan security forces clashed with the demonstrators in Tripoli for the second day in a row.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke to Qadhafi on Monday 21st February, and shortly after announced that the UN Security Council is to meet in a closed session to discuss Libya. Ban Ki-moon said: "I urged him that the human rights and freedom of assembly and freedom of speech must be fully protected."

Libya's diplomats at the UN called for international intervention to stop the government's brutality against street demonstrations. Criticism over Qadhafi's handling of protesters has come from several senior figures, including Libya's diplomat in the US Ali Aujali who said, he was "not supporting the government killing its people". And, Deputy Permanent Representative Ibrahim Dabbashi who said his countrymen had to be protected from "genocide".

Meanwhile, Libyan State TV denied any unlawful killings, dismissing the reports as "baseless lies" by international media. One statement released by the Libyan broadcasting authority said: "You should know that this is part of the psychological warfare, lies and rumours which you should resist because they are aimed at demolishing your morale, stability and blessings for which they envy you…Rumours are a poison which you should not drink. False news peddled by satellite TVs are arrows which you should deflect towards their throats."

Sources: BBC News, Arab New , Aljazeera, ABC News

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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