U.S., French leaders say end of Libyan leader’s rule is inevitable and close; Russian official says Gadhafi is alive and healthy and prepared to fight.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke to U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday and the two leaders agreed that the end of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s rule is inevitable and close, Sarkozy’s office said.
France and Britain will continue to give military support to the Libyan rebels until Gaddafi’s troops surrender, and both countries back holding a conference soon in Paris to rally international support for rebuilding the country, his office said in a statement.
The Russian head of the World Chess Federation, who visited Gadhafi in Tripoli in June, said he had received a call from him on Tuesday afternoon in which Gadhafi said he was still in the capital. He “is in Tripoli, he is alive and healthy and is prepared to fight to the end”, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told Reuters.
The rebels’ envoy in Rome, Hafed Gaddur, said: “It seems clear that he is confined to his bunker complex”.
“We thought Tripoli would be liberated in one month or perhaps even two months, instead that happened in just a few hours, a day, so we’ve made great progress,” he told Reuters.
Western governments, which have backed disparate opposition groups, said they could not be sure where the 69-year-old leader was but urged him to surrender after six months of civil war which have put an end to his four decades of absolute power.