Sarkozy, Cameron 'colonising Libya'
Nicosia - The Libyan visit of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy “marked the start of the colonisation of the oil-rich country”, Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesperson Mussa Ibrahim warned on the Arrai television channel.
The British prime minister and French president, whose forces spearheaded the Nato air war that helped to topple Gaddafi, were hailed as heroes during their visit on Thursday to Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.
But Ibrahim, in a telephone call to the Syria-based Arrai late on Thursday, charged that their joint mission had ulterior motives.
"The visit marks the start of a project of colonisation of Libya," he said.
"They are hurrying to collect the fruits of the fall of Tripoli... because they obviously fear the arrival of America and other countries wanting a slice of the cake," he said, without disclosing where he was phoning from.
Gaddafi and members of his inner circle have been in hiding since Tripoli was overrun by National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters late last month, with the fugitive strongman still believed to be in Libya even though members of his family have fled to Algeria and Niger.
"They hurried to Tripoli to make secret deals with the collaborators and the traitors, and to take the control of oil and investments under the pretext of rebuilding," Ibrahim said.
"They speak now about the construction of Libya for hundreds of billions of dollars... they destroy it and rebuild it with the money of Libyans."
Cameron, while in Tripoli, said Britain would release £600m in Libyan assets as part of a series of measures aimed at supporting Libya's new authorities.
He also said Britain would release another £12bn in frozen Gaddafi regime assets as soon as the UN Security Council approved a draft resolution that Britain and France are to put forward on Friday.
Ibrahim charged that both France and Britain were out to "transform Libya into a fiefdom of the West".
"We will continue our resistance until we achieve victory, the recovery of Libya and free it of this project of colonisation. The battle is far from finished, we have the capacity to resist and win," he said, while calling for "passive resistance and civil disobedience."
"We have thousands [of fighters], weapons, ammunition, money and legitimacy... and we have thousands of well-prepared volunteers ready on all fronts and determined. The only way forward for us is the way of victory."
Ibrahim's message came hours after NTC forces launched an assault on Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte, suffering heavy casualties but saying they had the resources to overrun the Mediterranean city.
Gaddafi’s forces also still control a string of Saharan oases, including the town of Bani Walid southeast of Tripoli, which is surrounded by NTC fighters as attempts are made to secure a peaceful surrender.