Foreign nationals continue to flee Libya

12:38, February 27, 2011      

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Foreigners were continuing to flee Libya as its leader Muammar Gaddafi has called on supporters to fight for the strife-torn North African nation.

Migrants of various nationalities on Friday flooded into Tunisia from Libya through the Ras Jdir crossing point, witnesses said.

At least 5,000 foreigners including Egyptians, Algerians, Turks, Vietnameses, Koreans and Lebaneses fled Libya into Tunisia on Friday. Some foreign embassies in Libya have also started to evacuate their staff.

On Friday evening, Gaddafi said he was "one of the people" when addressing a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters in Tripoli's Green Square.

"We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people," said the embattled leader.

He meanwhile called on his supporters to get ready to fight for Libya, for dignity, and for petroleum.

Reports said pro-government troops had engaged in fierce fighting with anti-government armed forces in Misurata, east of Tripoli, and Az-Zawiyah, west of the capital. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader, admitted the troops were having "a problem" in the two towns, but labeled as "lies" reports saying the government was resorting to violence in civilian communities.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday imposing sanctions on Libya, including an arms embargo against the country and a travel ban and asset freeze against Gaddafi and his key family members.

The Security Council also expressed "grave concern" at the current situation in Libya, and called for "an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population" in the North African country.

The Security Council decided that "all member states shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ...of arms and related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts," the resolution said.

The travel ban is to be imposed on Gaddafi, his key family members, including Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, and high-ranking officials of the Tripoli regime, the resolution said.

The Security Council "decides that all member states shall freeze without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly," by the listed individuals or entities of Libya, the resolution said.

"Member states shall ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any individuals or entities within their territories," the resolution said.

Australian federal government on Sunday imposed sanctions on Libya.

ABC News reported that Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced travel and financial sanctions against Gaddafi and key members of his regime.

The 22 figures include members of Gaddafi's family, senior military and security people. The Government also banned the listed people from entering or transiting Australian territory.

Under the sanctions, Australians would not be able to engage in any financial transactions with the 22 figures.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday stepped up pressure on Gaddafi, saying that he should leave now.

In a telephone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the situation in Libya, Obama said the Libyan leader "has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now," the White House said in a statement.

They discussed "appropriate and effective ways" for the international community to respond, the statement said.

Obama ordered on Friday to freeze assets of the Libyan government, Gaddafi and his family following the suspension of U.S. embassy operations in Tripoli earlier in the day.

The move targeted the Libyan government "while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya," Obama said in a statement.

Gaddafi has said that he would not leave his country but rather die "as a martyr."

Source: Xinhua
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