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Gaddafi regime ready to blow up Tripoli – Russian envoy to Africa

Published time: July 14, 2011 06:46
Edited time: July 14, 2011 12:30
Muammar Gaddafi (AFP Photo / HO / Qatar News Agency)

Muammar Gaddafi (AFP Photo / HO / Qatar News Agency)

Muammar Gaddafi may resort to surface-to-surface missiles in case rebels manage to take over the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the Russian president’s special envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov has said.

­“In Tripoli, the Libyan prime minister told me, ‘If rebels seize the city, we’ll straddle it with rockets and blow up.’ I presume Gaddafi’s regime has this kind of suicidal plan in mind,” Margelov told Izvestia daily.

He also said that he doubts Muammar Gaddafi and his supporters are running out of weapons, as American intelligence claims.

“So far, Gaddafi has not used surface-to-surface missiles, which he has in abundance. So this substantiates doubts that there is a shortage of weapons. In theory, Tripoli may lack ammunition for tanks and bullets for guns. But missiles and explosives are something they have in abundance,”
the Russian presidential envoy commented.

Russia and the United States, who are playing an active role in attempting to settle the conflict in the country, do not always find a common language on Libya, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday, after a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“And I would like to add that with certainty that the situation surrounding Libya is one case where our positions somewhat diverge,” Lavrov said. “This is all about the way the Security Council resolution is being followed. But on a side note, I would like to say that on this topic, we have less misunderstanding with the United States than with some European countries.”

He added that Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov is working actively with both sides in the conflict.

“I think that the whole set of the measures being taken by NATO members, Russia, the countries in the region as well as the African Union, whose initiative we support, will lead to an agreement to reach a ceasefire and start negotiations,” the Russian foreign minister stressed.

Mass protests against the Gaddafi regime in Libya started in mid-February. Deadly military clashes between rebels and government forces led the United Nations to introduce a non-fly zone over the country. On March 19, an international military operation to protect Libyan civilians from Gaddafi was launched.

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