Sunday, March 27, 2011

Libyan People Resist U.S./NATO Bombing Campaign

Fighting rages in Libya as regional blocs scramble to seek solution

BEIJING/TRIPOLI, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Libyan government forces and the rebels continued to fight fiercely on Saturday in key military strongholds as Western warplanes started to bomb Libyan forces in the country's third largest city of Misrata.

Meanwhile, two regional blocs, the Africa Union (AU) and the Arab League (AL), were making joint efforts to mediate a ceasefire between the warring parties in Libya and draw a roadmap for ending the crisis in the North African country.


In Misrata, which has been in rebel hands in the west of the country, government forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi launched new attacks in renewed efforts to regain control of the city.

The government forces had largely stopped their bombardment of the city after Western countries launched new round of air raids against government forces.

Unconfirmed reports said Western fighter jets appeared in the sky of Misrata Saturday night. The government forces subsequently stopped the offensive.

The French armed forces said French warplanes destroyed five planes and two helicopters of the government forces outside Misrata on Saturday. The aircrafts were destroyed when they were on the ground.

French jets "carried out several strikes in the Zintan and Misrata regions," the military said in a statement.

Sporadic shootings could also be heard in the city of Misrata after the air raids.

The British Defence Ministry said its warplanes destroyed five Libyan armored vehicles in air raids against Libyan government forces in Ajdabiya and Misrata on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in the eastern port city of Brega, the rebels claimed they had defeated government forces and seized complete control of the city.

A rebel spokesman was quoted as saying on Saturday that Brega was 100 percent in the hands of rebel forces after they won a decisive battle there.

The rebels had been in overall retreat before Western forces pounded Gaddafi forces a week ago and silenced government forces' guns. Following the Western air raids, the government forces and the rebels were immersed in an impasse.

With the Western military pressure on Libya showing no signs of easing, representatives of NATO member states are due to meet in Brussels Sunday and they are expected to reach agreement on NATO's assuming the overall responsibility of overseeing the action in Libya.


As part of regional mediation efforts, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa met AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping in the AL headquarters in Cairo Saturday. Moussa told reporters that the Arab League is searching for a solution to the Libyan crisis in coordination with the African Union.

He said they discussed the recent developments of the Libyan crisis after the UN imposed a no-fly zone over the North African country.

The AL was informed by Jean Ping about the results of an AU meeting with the Libyan governmental delegation in Addis Ababa Friday over the Libya issue.

The Libyan governmental delegation confirmed that they agreed with the AU roadmap suggestion for resolving the crisis in Libya, he said.

Jean Ping said the AU's roadmap was supposed to be executed on March 21 in Benghazi city, but was rejected by the UN Security Council after the adoption of the Resolution 1973.

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