Gaddafi defeat is 'only a matter of time'

2011-08-23 13:43
London - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is cornered and his defeat is "only a matter of time", British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Tuesday.

Clegg insisted the defiant appearance of Gaddafi’s son and presumed successor Saif al-Islam in Tripoli, a day after rebels said they had captured him, was "not the sign of some great comeback for the Gaddafi regime".

"He is not roaming freely through Tripoli. He and the remaining pro-Gaddafi forces are now cornered, they are making their last stand, and it's only a matter of time before they are finally defeated.

"About that we are very confident indeed."

Clegg said there would continue to be "frustrations and setbacks" in the battle for control of Tripoli, but despite fierce fighting he insisted that rebel forces still controlled much of the capital.

"Our assessment is that Free Libya forces now control much, but not all, of Tripoli," he said.

Saif, who is wanted for war crimes, turned up in the early hours of Tuesday at a hotel in Tripoli where foreign journalists are staying and insisted the capital was under the regime's control.

The International Criminal Court had said on Monday he had been detained after rebel fighters streamed into the capital, but it admitted on Tuesday that it had never received official confirmation of his arrest.

Clegg chaired a meeting of Britain's National Security Council, bringing together military chiefs and ministers to discuss the situation in Libya, in the absence of Prime Minister David Cameron who has rejoined his family on holiday.

But Clegg insisted that Cameron was in close contact with other world leaders and Libya's rebel National Transitional Council.

"He is in constant contact with other world leaders and indeed with leaders of the National Transitional Council in Libya and that is exactly the way we will continue to operate," he said.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  nick clegg  |  uk  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  libya protests
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