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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libya to choose new leader by spring

RIA Novosti

13:34 24/08/2011 MOSCOW/ROME, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Libya will hold presidential elections in the next eight months and Muammar Gaddafi will be tried for his crimes inside the country, rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil told La Repubblica paper.

"In eight months we will hold legislative and presidential elections. We want a democratic government and a just constitution," promised Abdel Jalil, chairman of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC).

Post-Gaddafi Libya "must be a different country from the past, based on the principles of freedom, equality and fraternity," and will have "strong relations with other countries, based on mutual respect and cooperation," Jalil went on.

"We will be an active member of the international community and we will respect the treaties signed in the past," he added.

Colonel Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, but according to a pro-Gaddafi television channel, the 69-year-old promised "martyrdom or victory" in his fight against the rebels and NATO forces.

On Wednesday, rebels ransacked Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya bastion in Tripoli, seizing weapons and smashing symbols of his government.

The embattled strongman has reportedly made a defiant speech on Syrian-based Arrai Oruba television, just hours after his compound in Tripoli came under the attack. He said he had walked incognito through the streets of Tripoli.

"I walked incognito, without anyone seeing me, and I saw youths ready to defend their city," the strongman said, without specifying when he took to the streets. He also urged residents to "cleanse Tripoli of rats."

Opposition supporters continue celebrations in Tripoli's central square, although there are reports of sporadic resistance from pro-Gaddafi fighters in parts of the capital.

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