Sarkozy, Cameron visit Libya
By Rizwan Khatik - Fri Sep 16, 6:44 am
TRIPOLI: The leaders of France and Britain were feted in Libya for their support of the uprising which overthrew Muammar Qadhafi while forces of the new government closed in on his hometown Sirte in an effort to complete their victory.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose air forces helped end Qadhafi’s 42-year rule, flew in to Tripoli to be told their support may be repaid in business contracts with the oil-rich North African state.
Fighters loyal to the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) meanwhile attacked Qadhafi’s birthplace Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast, facing dermined resistance from forces still defending the ousted leader.
“They have now entered the city. There was a coordinated push from the south, east and west and from along the coast. I’m not sure how far they have been able to enter,” NTC military spokesman Abdulrahman Busin said.
“They are coming under heavy fire. There is a particular problem with snipers.”
After nearly seven months of fighting, NTC forces backed by Nato air power control most of Libya, including oil-producing centers and the capital Tripoli, which they seized last month.
They have met fierce resistance in a handful of pro-Qadhafi bastions such as Sirte, the desert town of Bani Walid and southern outpost of Sabha.
Qadhafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court, has also gone into hiding and is rumoured to be hiding in one of the loyalist strongholds.