Leave Libya for Libyans: Gaddafi

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tripoli - In a letter to international powers gathering in London to discuss the fate of Libya, leader Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday called for an end to what he described as "the unfair and barbaric offensive" against the Libyans.

"Leave Libya for Libyans. You are committing genocide against a peaceful people and destroying a developing nation," he said in a letter carried out by official news agency Jana.

Gaddafi, in power for 42 years, said the situation in Libya will be handled by the African Union (AU), asserting Libya would accept "what a high-profile AU commission would decide."

The world's major powers, the UK, the United States and France, started on 19 March to launch strikes from the air and sea against Gaddafi's forces after the UN Security Council passed a resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The resolution also called for authorizing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya, an appointed reference to military operations.

Top diplomats from 35 countries, including Muslim NATO member Turkey, are to meet later Tuesday in London for talks on the future of Libya.

Before leaving for London, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the meeting is mainly to tackle diplomatic efforts to force the Libyan leader to step down.

The meeting also will bring together high-ranking officials from NATO, the UN, the AU and the Arab League, which has been invited for the meeting.

The meeting will also be attended by the foreign ministers of Arab countries Jordan and Qatar which was the only Arab nation and the world's second country officially recognized a Libyan rebels council.

France is the first country to recognize the council as "the legitimate representative of the Libyan people."