Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Key Libyan diplomats disown Qaddafi

EN MASSE:A Libyan diplomat in China compared the long-time leader to Mussolini and Hitler, while an envoy to the UN asked for his bank accounts to be monitored


A protester shouts slogans against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi during a demonstration outside the Libyan embassy in Cairo yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Key Libyan diplomats disowned Muammar Qaddafi’s regime on Monday and the country’s deputy UN ambassador called on the long-time ruler to step down because of its bloody crackdown on protesters.

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

As diplomatic support for Qaddafi began to crumble, Dabbashi warned that if he doesn’t leave, “the Libyan people will get rid of him.”

Qaddafi’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 Qaddafi.

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, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Earlier on Monday, Ban spoke to Qaddafi 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 Qaddafi’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 Qaddafi has already started the genocide against the Libyan people.”

Dabbashi said he was writing to the UN Security Council calling for action to stop the bloodshed.

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 Qaddafi government and was trying “to persuade them to stop these acts.”

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 on Sunday as Libya’s ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, demanded Qaddafi and his commanders and aides be put on trial for “the mass killings in Libya.”

“Qaddafi’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.”

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