Libya's NTC 'should complete its work': France FM

10th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya's interim leadership should "complete its work" against ousted strongman Moamer Kadhafi, with the present fierce battles the last spasms of his regime, France's foreign minister said Saturday.

"We don't have any information on where Kadhafi is," Alain Juppe said as media and analysts speculated over whether he was still in Libya or had fled over the country's porous borders.

"But I think (the latest battles) are the last spasms of his regime," Juppe said during a flying visit to Australia that coincided with fierce firefights in Bani Walid, one of the last Kadhafi bastions, on Friday.

A number of former regime officials, including Kadhafi's spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, are believed to be holed up there.

Libya's interim leadership, the National Transitional Council, fears Kadhafi will try to slip across one of Libya's borders, possibly to Niger, where convoys carrying Kadhafi officials have reportedly arrived.

But in a defiant message on Thursday, Kadhafi dismissed as lies reports he had fled to Niger, insisting he was still in Libya.

The gunbattles around towns including Bani Walid and Sirte came as a deadline passed for Kadhafi's supporters to surrender or face a final assault by the NTC, which Juppe said controlled most of the country.

To end the tense stand-offs around Kadhafi-held towns, the NTC had given forces loyal to the former leader until Saturday to surrender of face attack.

"Unfortunately this call has not been heard and the NTC must now complete its work," Juppe said.

Juppe, the highest-level French visitor to Australia in 28 years, will Sunday hold talks with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard during a lightning trip to Russia, New Zealand, Australia and China.

© 2011 AFP

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