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Libyan Opposition Council Moves To Tripoli As Fighting Continues

26.08.2011 11:58

The Libyan rebel government has arrived in Tripoli as efforts begin to stabilize the city despite remaining pockets of resistance by fighters loyal to Muammar Qaddafi.

Western media report that about half of the rebel leadership arrived in the capital as their National Transitional Council (NTC) began transferring its headquarters from Benghazi.

One NTC leader, Ali al-Tarhuni, said the chairman of the council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, will move to Tripoli "when the security situation improves."

"I proclaim the beginning of, and the resumption of, the work of the executive office in free Tripoli as of this moment," Tarhuni told reporters in Tripoli late on August 25.

Tarhuni described the arrival in Tripoli as an "historic moment."

The announcement comes as United Nations officials in New York agreed to unfreeze $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets for humanitarian use, social services, and reconstruction.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also pledged support for the "new Libya," calling on the NTC to fulfill its commitments to build a "tolerant, unified democratic" country.

In a written statement, Clinton urged peace between the Libyan factions, saying there "can be no place in the new Libya for revenge attacks and reprisals," as reports emerged of abuses and alleged summary killings by both rebels and troops loyal to Qaddafi.

Meanwhile, opponents of Qaddafi's regime were seeking to strengthen their control of Tripoli after overrunning the city four days ago and forcing Qaddafi into hiding.

Early on August 26, reports said rebels exchanged heavy fire with fighters loyal to Qaddafi in the Abu Salim district, one of the few remaining Qaddafi holdouts in the capital.

The former Libyan leader disappeared from sight on August 23 as rebels overran his fortified compound in the capital. His whereabouts now are unknown.

Some 360 kilometers east, a major battle was reportedly brewing in Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte, toward which rebel commanders deployed heavy artillery and tanks.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said British planes fired precision-guided missiles at a bunker in Sirte on August 26.

Rebel forces hunting for Qaddafi and his remaining loyalists say they are advancing on Sirte but have met strong resistance east of the city.

They have offered a $1.7 million reward on Qaddafi's head and an amnesty to any members of his inner circle who kill or capture him. The 69-year-old strongman is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that "summary executions are not permissible in peacetime or in wartime."

compiled from agency reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/libya_qaddafi_national_transitional_council_tripoli/24308669.html

Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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