Sarkozy urges Kadhafi to give up his remaining power

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday urged Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi to give up "immediately what power he has left" as the outcome of a rebel victory is "no longer in doubt."

In a statement issued by his office, Sarkozy said Kadhafi after 42 years in power should "avoid having his people endure more suffering unnecessarily" as rebel forces advance on the capital Tripoli.

The French president also called on Kadhafi "to immediately order those of his forces that are still loyal to a ceasefire, to put down their arms, to return to their barracks and make themselves available to the legitimate Libyan authorities."

To the rebels at this "decisive" moment, Sarkozy hailed the courage of the fighters and the Libyan people who support them, the statement said, reiterating France's backing of the National Transitional Council, based in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Libyan rebels advanced to 12 kilometres (seven miles) west of Tripoli on Sunday, in their campaign to capture the capital, an AFP correspondent said.

He said the rebels were moving in a convoy of around 100 vehicles as onlookers fired celebratory gunfire into the air.

© 2011 AFP

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