Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Leaders call for Libya's Gaddafi to go


People burn pictures of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi inside the main prison of Gaddafi's forces in Benghazi February 28, 2011.

(Reuters) - A growing number of political leaders are urging Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down after his strong response to the popular uprising against his rule.

The U.N. Security Council agreed on Saturday to impose travel bans and asset freezes on Gaddafi, his family and inner circle and called for Libya's crackdown on protesters to be referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation.

Following are details of countries demanding Gaddafi go:

BRITAIN: "It is time for Colonel Gaddafi to go and to go now. There is no future for Libya that includes him," British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

-- Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain had revoked Gaddafi's diplomatic immunity and that of his sons, family and household.

-- After a 2003 deal to dismantle weapons of mass destruction, former British prime minister Tony Blair helped lead Gaddafi back into the international fold, paving the way for big British business deals in Libya.

-- Blair told The Times newspaper he had spoken to Gaddafi twice on Friday and had told him he should go: "What I asked him to do is consistent with the message from the international community and his message was the message he has given publicly. He was in denial that these things are going on."

CANADA: Canada called on Gaddafi to resign and has adopted the sanctions called for by the United Nations, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi and 15 people associated with him.

-- "A government's first and most fundamental responsibility is to protect the safety and security of its citizens. Mr Gaddafi has blatantly violated this most basic trust. Far from protecting the Libyan people against peril he is the root cause of the dangers they face," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

GERMANY: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he believed Gaddafi would not be able to stay in power after his response to the uprising in Libya.

-- In an article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper, Westerwelle criticized the European Union for not acting sooner to impose sanctions against Gaddafi.

-- "A ruling family which conducts a war so brutally against its own people is finished. The dictator cannot stay," he said.

ITALY: The end of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's rule is "inevitable," the foreign minister of Italy, his closest European ally, said.

-- Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also said a friendship and cooperation treaty between Libya and Italy was "de facto suspended." "We have reached, I believe, a point of no return," Frattini told Sky Italia television.

-- Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government had initially hesitated to condemn violence in Libya, a former Italian colony with which Rome has close business ties.

-- Libya supplies around 25 percent of Italy's oil needs and 12 percent of its gas imports. Its sovereign wealth fund has stakes in Italy's biggest bank UniCredit and other firms, and Italy's oil and gas major ENI is the biggest operator in Libya.

* QATAR: Muammar Gaddafi should take a "brave decision" to avoid more bloodshed and destruction in Libya, Qatar's prime minister said in a rare Arab call on the Libyan leader to resign.

-- "It is not too late for a decision. It is impossible for anyone to win in this revolution but the Libyan people," said Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.

* RUSSIA: A Kremlin source on Tuesday called Muammar Gaddafi a "living political corpse" and said the Libyan leader should step down, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

-- Russia rarely criticizes authoritarian leaders but President Dmitry Medvedev last week condemned Gaddafi's use of violence against protesters calling for his overthrow and said continued bloodshed would be a crime under international law.

* UNITED STATES: Libya could become a peaceful democracy or face a drawn-out civil war, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday, urging U.S. lawmakers not to cut funds needed to deal with crises abroad.

-- Clinton spoke a day after the United States began moving warships and aircraft closer to Libya, and froze $30 billion in assets, steeping up pressure on Gaddafi to give up power. Clinton said on Monday: "It is time for Gaddafi to go -- now, without further violence or delay."

-- U.S. President Barack Obama had already announced U.S. sanctions and called on Saturday for Gaddafi to step down, sharpening Washington's position after U.S. citizens were safely evacuated from the country.

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