Cameron vows British help in hunt for Kadhafi

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Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Britain's help in hunting down fugitive strongman Moamer Kadhafi as he and France's Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday became the first foreign leaders to visit the new Libya.

The French president said that the toppled tyrant remained a "danger" and that there was a "job to finish" in eliminating the remaining strongholds of his forces.

"We must keep on with the NATO mission until civilians are all protected and until this work is finished," the British prime minister told a joint news conference in the Libyan capital on their lightning visit.

"We will help you to find Kadhafi and to bring him to justice," he said.

Sarkozy said that it was vital that all countries cooperate in handing over wanted officials of the ousted regime and said he was confident that Libya's southern neighbour Niger, a former French colony, would not give refuge to fugitives from justice.

"We call on all countries that have wanted people on their territory to work with international bodies to ensure that everyone can be called to account for what they have done," he said.

Cameron said that NATO would continue its UN-mandated air operations as long as Kadhafi still holds on to his remaining redoubts around his hometown of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast and in a slew of Saharan oases extending to Libya's southern borders are

"We will go on with the NATO mission for as long as is necessary under UN Resolution 1973 to protect civilians," he said.

"This work isn't finished yet. There are still parts of Libya under Kadhafi control.

"And the message I think to Kadhafi and all those still holding arms on his behalf is it is over. Give up. The mercenaries should go home.

"Those who still think Kadhafi has any part in any part of government of any part this country should forget it. He doesn't. It is time for him to give himself up."

Cameron said that Britain would release another 12 billion pounds (18.96 billion dollars) in frozen Kadhafi regime assets as soon as the UN Security Council approved a draft resolution which Britain and France are to put forward on Friday.

Britain has already approved the release of one billion pounds (1.58 billion dollars), the last tranche of which is to be handed over to the new Libyan authorities soon.

"If we can pass the UN resolution that we will be putting forward with France tomorrow there's a further £12 billion of assets in the UK alone that we will be looking to unfreeze," he said.

Sarkozy insisted that there was "no ulterior motive" in Western assistance to the new Libya.

"We are not asking for any preferential treatment or exemption from the rules. We did what we did because we thought it was right."

He called on the victorious rebels not to engage in any acts of vengeance or score-settling as they close in on the last towns still loyal to Kadhafi.

© 2011 AFP

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