PARIS: World leaders on Monday hailed the rebel takeover of Tripoli, urging Muammer Gaddafi to admit defeat, as Libyans around the world celebrated the veteran leader’s imminent departure.
“Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant,” US president Barack Obama said in a statement issued from his holiday in Martha’s Vineyard. “He needs to relinquish power once and for all,” Obama said.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country spearheaded support for the uprising and was the first to recognize their interim administration , condemned Gaddafi’s “irresponsible and desperate calls for the combat to continue” .
ItalianPMSilvioBerlusconi , who signed a 2008 friendship treaty that made the former colonial power Libya’s top trading partner, urged Gaddafi to “put an end to every pointless resistance and to save, in this way, his people from further suffering.”
British PM David Cameron also said that “Gaddafi must stop fighting, without conditions, and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya” .
Nato, whose aerial bombing played a key role in weakening Gaddafi’s military infrastructure , urged him to step aside and give his country a chance to rebuild. It is “time to create a new Libya – a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship” , Atlantic alliance head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, an old Gaddafi ally, was a lone voice of foreign support for the crumbling regime, accusing the West of “destroying Tripoli with their bombs” .
China was more measured than Western powers in its reaction and promised to cooperate with whatever government would take over.
Russia’s response was equally cautious, urging any future political dialogue in Libya to take place without foreign interference.
Longtime ally Serbia stressed the situation was still developing and voiced hope its close relationship with Libya would continue.
South Africa denied rumours that it might be a place of exile for a defeated Gaddafi or help him to flee and called for the rapid establishment of “a truly representative and people-centred dispensation” in Libya.