Britain says Kadhafi regime in its 'death throes'

23rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday Moamer Kadhafi's regime was on its last legs after rebels fought their way into the Libyan leader's compound.

"Clearly these are continuing successes by the Free Libya forces, it does show that this is really the death throes of the Kadhafi regime," Hague told Sky News television.

"It is a historic achievement for the people of Libya that they are at this point."

He spoke moments after the rebels overran Kadhafi's fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli after heavy fighting that sent loyalist troops fleeing, although there was no immediate word on the dictator's whereabouts.

Hague warned however that the six-month conflict had taught the rebels and NATO, which has supported the anti-Kadhafi uprising with a bombing campaign, not to get "overexcited by any individual piece of news".

"There will be some dangerous people out there, a lot of weapons out there, this is not yet an ordered or secure situation in Tripoli or in many other parts of Libya -- it's not over yet," said Hague.

Hague dismissed the significance of a defiant appearance by Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam in Tripoli early Tuesday, a day after rebels said they had captured him, in which he claimed the regime had the upper hand.

"Clearly for Kadhafi's son to say this morning that they had broken the back of the rebels, that was clearly a fantasy and not to be believed at all," he said.

The International Criminal Court had said Monday that Seif, who is wanted for war crimes, had been detained after rebel fighters entered the capital, but it admitted Tuesday that it had never received official confirmation of his arrest.

Hague also said Britain, one of the first countries to launch UN-mandated military action in support of the rebels alongside France and the United States in March, stood ready to help the rebels rebuild Libya following the conflict.

The priority was to help the rebel National Transitional Council and its backers "to establish themselves in Libya in a more ordered situation", he said.

Britain had £20 million (23 million euros, $33 million) ready to assist the rebels and could also help with clearing landmines and advising on such matters as police work, Hague added.

© 2011 AFP

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