Key diplomats disown Gaddafi’s regime

2011-02-22 08:02
New York - Key Libyan diplomats disowned Muammar Gaddafi's regime on Monday and the country's deputy UN ambassador called on the longtime ruler to step down because of its bloody crackdown on protesters.

The Libyan ambassador to the United States also said he could no longer support Gaddafi, and the ambassador to India resigned. Almost all Libyan diplomats at the United Nations backed deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi's pleas to Gaddafi to end his 40-year rule and to the international community to intervene.

The UN spokesperson's office said late on Monday that the Security Council had scheduled consultations on the situation in Libya for Tuesday morning.

Earlier, Dabbashi had said he was writing to the Security Council calling for action to stop the bloodshed.

As diplomatic support for Gaddafi began to crumble, Dabbashi warned that if he doesn't leave, "the Libyan people will get rid of him".

Gaddafi’s security forces unleashed the most deadly crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, with reports on Monday that demonstrators were being fired at from helicopters and warplanes. After seven days of protests and deadly clashes in Libya's eastern cities, the eruption of turmoil in the capital, Tripoli, sharply escalated the challenge to Gaddafi.

Human rights


The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late on Monday expressed outrage at the reported aerial attacks, saying they would be "a serious violation of international humanitarian law", and again called for an immediate end to the violence, the UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said. Earlier on Monday, Ban spoke to Gaddafi for 40 minutes urging a halt to the bloodshed, respect for human rights and protection of the civilian population.

Libya's ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali, told BBC World that the reports of firing from warplanes spurred his decision not to support the government any more.

"To me it is a very sad moment seeing Libyans killing other Libyans," he said. "I'm not supporting the government killing its people. ... I'm (not) resigning Muammar Gaddafi's government, but I am with the people. I am representing the people in the street, the people who've been killed, the people who've been destroyed. Their life is in danger."

Dabbashi, the deputy UN ambassador, also said he and the UN diplomats were not resigning because they served the people of Libya and not the regime.

"This is in fact a declaration of war against the Libyan people," he told reporters, surrounded by a dozen Libyan diplomats. "The regime of Gadhafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people."

Libya's UN Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham was not present at Dabbashi's press conference. He told the UN correspondent for the pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, that all diplomats at Libya's mission supported Dabbashi "excluding me". Shalgham said he was in touch with the Gadhafi government and was trying "to persuade them to stop these acts".

Mass killings


Libya's Ambassador to India, Ali al-Essawi, told the BBC he had resigned because of "massive violence against Libyan civilians", while Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, who resigned Sunday as Libya's ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, demanded Gaddafi and his commanders and aides be put on trial for "the mass killings in Libya".

"Gaddafi’s regime is now in the trash of history because he betrayed his nation and his people," al-Houni said in a statement.

A Libyan diplomat in China, Hussein el-Sadek el-Mesrati, told Al-Jazeera, "I resigned from representing the government of Mussolini and Hitler."

Gaddafi appeared very briefly on Libyan state television early on Tuesday to attempt to show he was still in charge and dispel rumors that he had fled.

Gaddafi  is reportedly using mercenaries against the protesters and Dabbashi urged the international community to impose a no-flight zone "on the cities of Libya so no mercenaries, no supplies of arms will arrive to the regime."

Dabbashi also urged the international community to establish safe passage for medical supplies from neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt to get across the borders to Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, which was the scene of the heaviest fighting. By Monday, protesters had claimed control of the city, overrunning its main security headquarters.

"We also call on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate the crimes against humanity committed by Gaddafi against the Libyan people," Dabbashi told the Associated Press.

Genocide

The best scenario, he said, "is to have him before the court, to prosecute him and to know from him everything about the crimes he committed before, whether it is ... the genocide he is committing now or the disappearance of certain important personalities... and all the other crimes he has committed during the 42 years in power."

Dabbashi also called on all countries to refuse entry to Gaddafi if he tries to escape and to monitor financial transactions if he tries to send money outside Libya.

Some 70 human rights groups called for immediate international action "to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people".

The groups urged the UN Security Council to meet and take action to protect Libyan civilians from "crimes against humanity", and they urged the UN General Assembly to suspend Libya from membership on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

The signatories included the US-based National Endowment for Democracy, Physicians for Human Rights, Geneva-based UN Watch, and groups from many other countries including South Africa, Switzerland, India, Nigeria, Germany, Pakistan, Venezuela and Britain.


- AP
Read more on:    un  |  us  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings
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