Cameron Promises to Help Hunt Down Gadhafi

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 8:36 am (UTC-5)
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British Prime Minister David Cameron is promising to help hunt former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and bring him to justice.

Mr. Cameron on Thursday called on the overthrown Libyan leader and his followers to “give up” during a news conference in Tripoli. The British leader spoke along side his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy. The two leaders are the first foreign heads of state to visit the nation since the overthrow of Mr. Gadhafi.

Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy arrived in Libya Thursday to hold talks with the country's interim government, including with National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil. They will also travel to the eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolutionary forces first started their campaign against Libya's longtime leader.

Mr. Cameron also said Britain will look to unfreeze an additional $19 billion in Libyan assets with United Nations approval.

Britain and France pushed for NATO action to protect civilians against forces loyal to Mr. Gadhafi, and the French were the first to recognize the NTC as the official representative of the Libyan people.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also scheduled to visit Libya this week as part of a North African tour.

Meanwhile, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, assured Libyans that the Obama administration will respect the country's sovereignty, saying the future of Libya “is in the hands of its people.” Feltman – who met Wednesday with senior NTC members in Tripoli – is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the country since provisional authority forces drove Mr. Gadhafi from power last month.

The former Libyan leader has not been seen since anti-Gadhafi forces seized the capital.

In New York Wednesday, Britain circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would ease international sanctions against Libya and establish a U.N. mission there to help advise interim leaders on restoring security and preparing for democratic elections.

The proposal would unfreeze assets of two major Libyan oil companies and the country's central bank.

The six-month-old punitive measures were imposed on Libya when Mr. Gadhafi initiated a deadly crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators across the country. Diplomats said they are hoping for a vote by the end of the week.