Libyan rebel leader calls for no-fly, no-sail zone: BBC

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The leader of Libya's rebel national council called for a no-fly zone -- and a no-sail zone -- to hamper Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi efforts to retake the country, in comments to the BBC Thursday.

"The Libyans are being cleansed by Kadhafi's air force," Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the national Council in Libya, told the BBC World Service.

"We asked for a no-fly zone to be imposed from day one. We ask the international community to shoulder their responsibilities.

"We also want a sea embargo and we urgently need some arms and we also need humanitarian assistance and medicines to be sent to the cities besieged by Kadhafi troops," he added.

The rebel leader commended France for its decision Thursday to recognise the national council and urged other nations to follow their lead.

"The most effective recognition might come from the United States, the United Kingdom or Germany but we need the support of all countries," he said.

Given what was going on in Libya, other countries need to follow suit, he said, "because it represents the rebels who are now controlling the majority of Libya."

Although forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi appeared Wednesday to hold the city of Zawiyah after a bloody battle, the rebel chief insisted that anti-regime forces remained strong.

"Everybody should know that there is no balance between our capabilities and Kadhafi's," Jalil said.

Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam said Thursday victory was in sight against the rebel after loyalist forces the strategic coastal oil of Ras Lanuf in the east.

America's top spy James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said Thursday he thought Kadhafi's forces would prevail, but his remarks were criticised as a "one-dimensional" by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

© 2011 AFP

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