11 June 2011

Libya: Turkey Offers Way-Out to Kadhafi

Turkey says it has offered Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi a guarantee to leave the country for a place of his choosing but has not yet not received a reply.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Kadhafi had no choice but to leave Libya.

"We have told him we will help him to be sent wherever he wants to go," he said on NTV television. "Depending on the reply we will get from him, we will take up the issue with our Nato allies, but unfortunately we have received no reply so far."

Erdogan's comments come a day after heavy fighting near the port city of Misrata, the rebels' most significant enclave in western Libya, some 200 kilometres from the capital, Tripoli.

Kadhafi's forces are reported to have bombed the Dafnia area on the outskirts of the city with rockets, heavy artillery and tank shells, killing 20 people and wounding 80 more.

But they were beaten back by the rebels.

On Friday, Nato carried out fresh strikes on Tripoli. Over the past two days, the Libyan capital has been the target of the most intense Nato air raids since the UN mandate on 19 March. But US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned the attacks could be in danger because of a lack of military firepower.

Norway, which has contributed six F-16 fighters to the aerial campaign, said on Friday it would first reduce its participation before pulling out altogether on 1 August.

And Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said while his country supported a three-month extension of the Nato operation, its six F-16s would not fly bombing missions.

Meanwhile, the US has joined Australia and Spain in recognising the rebel National Transitional Council as Libya's legitimate representative.

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