26 Feb 2011

Libya crisis: UN chief calls for ‘concrete action’

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, has said it is “time for concrete action” to deal with the violence in Libya. See latest updates and video in our #c4news live blog.

LIVE BLOG: Libya crisis - latest on Gaddafi and evacuation plan.
Live blog: Libya revolt

Sat 25 Feb

12.35 Saif Gaddafi, Colonel Gaddafi’s son, has told Channel 4 News Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Rugman that his father is in “high spirits” and Libya is no longer on the brink of civil war.

11.33 In a sign of restoring normality, the financial sector is resuming activity in Libya’s northern city of Benghazi.

10.00 Another rescue flight has set off for Tripoli to bring back British people still trapped in the Libyan capital.

09.30 Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General: “It is time for the Security Council to consider concrete action. The hours and the days ahead will be decisive for Libyans and their country with equally important implications for the wider region.”

09.00 Rania Abdul Aziz Diab, a Tripoli resident, says: “The situation in Tripoli is safe. We live in the Bin Aachour district and there is no shelling, we are going onto the streets today with our cars, and nothing bad is happening.”

08.00 UN estimates 1,000 people have been killed so far in Libya clashes. There were reports of further gunfire overnight in Tripoli. The mass evacuation of foreign workers continues.

07.30 Ministry of Defence confirms that in the early hours of Saturday morning, HMS Cumberland arrived alongside Malta carrying 207 persons evacuated from Libya. The 69 British nationals and 138 passengers from other nations were evacuated from Benghazi, Libya’s second city, on Thursday.

HMS Cumberland arrived alongside Malta carrying 207 persons evacuated from Libya.

Friday 25 Feb

18.45 Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is a madman and he will not be taken alive, Libya’s Deputy UN Ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who denounced Gaddafi earlier this week, said.

“This is a madman and he is psychologically not stable,” Dabbashi said, adding that there should be international sanctions placed on Libya.

“He will stay until the moment he is either (killed) or he will commit suicide.”

18.30 Fighting continues across Tripoli and in other towns – in some places very fierce, with gunshots heard in many areas. Protests in support of the Libyans, and urging for freedom in their own nations, are also taking place in Yemen, Iraq and Egypt.

16.54 Colonel Gaddafi has appeared to supporters on Green Square in Tripoli, Libya, and is addressing them.

16.30 Unrest is swirling across Tripoli, as pro and anti-Gaddafi groups mass on the streets. Pro-Gaddafi forces are firing on protesters, and at least two have died, Al Jazeera reported.

Read more on Libya: protesters shot dead in Tripoli

14.00 Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Colonel Gaddafi’s son, said in an interview that the family has no intention of leaving Libya.

“We have plans A, B and C,” he said in an interview on CNN-Turk.

“Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya.”

He also said that the regime would never demolish the oil sources of Libya in a bid to end the uprising, saying they “belong to the people.” He described the anti-Government militias as terrorists and said the Government was in control in of the west, south and centre of Libya.

11.45 Britain is pushing for United Nations measures against the Libyan government, including asset seizures, travel bans and sanctions, Prime Minister David Cameron has said

10.30 Libyan security forces have not been able to enter Zawiyah, a town about 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital which was the scene of heavy fighting with government opponents, according to witnesses (Reuters).

09.00 The European Union should consider restrictive measures against Libya, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said.

08.00 Libya’s government, clinging to power, has ordered massive cash handouts include wage increases, food subsidies and allowances, state television reports.

22.00 The HMS Cumberland has left Benghazi and is headed to Malta. AN FCO-chartered flight carrying 177 adults and four children has also landed at Gatwick. In total the FCO said it had helped more than 350 British nationals leave Libya today. More aircraft will be sent tomorrow “as necessary”. A spokesman said they were also aware of 42 Britons on a US ferry in Tripoli harbour.

It was not clear when the vessel was planning to sail but the Britons were being advised to remain aboard as the route to the airport was unsafe.

For the latest updates, see the Live Blog above. For all the day’s events, see below.

20.30 The UN council is considering its next steps on Libya as reports continue to come in of Gaddafi’s dwindling control of areas of the country, including – according to some witnesses – key oil terminals.

For the full day’s events, see below or read more about Libya: PM ‘sorry’ for evacuation delay as Britons head home or events in the country Libya crisis: anti-Gaddafi militia seize towns near Tripoli.

18.00 As Britain urges the international community to put more pressure on Gaddafi, the EU reveals there are between 5,000 and 6,000 EU citizens still to be evacuated.

17.45 Twenty three people have been killed and 44 wounded in the Libyan town of Zawiyah after clashes on Thursday between opponents of leader Muammar Gaddafi and forces loyal to him, Libya’s Quryna newspaper said (Reuters).

15.40 Some of Libya’s key oil terminals east of Tripoli are in rebel hands, according to people in Benghazi. No official confirmation.

15.00 HMS Cumberland has docked in Benghazi and is preparing to evacuate British citizens (see library picture of the ship below).

HMS Cumberland (MOD)

14.20 Colonel Gaddafi has called in to Libyan state TV and is now making what seems to be an impromptu speech, offering his condolences for those who have died and calling them “Libya’s children”.

He added that the youngsters of Libya were taking “hallucinogenic drugs” and that’s why the fighting has been happening, and said the Muslim Brotherhood were involved in the uprising.

13.45 HMS Cumberland has docked in Benghazi and is currently preparing to carry out the evacuation of British Nationals from the port.

13.20 Egyptians fleeing Tripoli tell Channel 4 News Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson Gaddafi’s forces are losing their grip on key western towns.

13.15 Foreign Office says a Hercules has left Tripoli bound for Malta carrying 52 Britons.

13.10 Gun battles are taking place between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his opponents in the town of Zawiyah, 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, according to witnesses.

12.15 High winds and seas are preventing Americans and other foreigners from leaving Libya aboard a chartered ferry for a second day, with no change in weather expected soon.

12.10 Residents of Benghazi have jailed those they say are mercenaries and set up committees to run this eastern city now out of the control of leader Muammar Gaddafi (Reuters).

11.20 Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi will “shortly” address residents of the town of Az-Zawiyah, 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital Tripoli, Al-Arabiya television reports

11.15 Pro-Gaddafi supporters attack protesters near Misrata killing several people (Reuters).

10.30 Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “extremely sorry” for the delay to Government efforts to rescue Britons stranded in Libya.

09.45 Italian airline Alitalia says it had suspended flights to Libya’s capital Tripoli indefinitely for security reasons.

09.30 Egyptian workers fleeing Libya say anti-Gaddafi militias control town of Zuara, 120km west of Tripoli (Reuters)

09.00 Passengers landing at Gatwick speak of their relief to be home as they described the “hellish” scenes they had encountered in Libya.
Helena Sheehan, 66, said: “Libya is descending into hell.

“The airport is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

8.30 David Cameron has said the world must consider the “full range of options” against Libya if violent repression continues and added that he wanted to tell Colonel Gaddafi: “What on earth do you think you are doing? Stop it!”

07.30 A plane chartered by oil company BP, carrying 150 people, has landed at Gatwick from Libya.

07.00 The UK has sent an RAF Hercules military transport aircraft from Malta to Tripoli to help with the evacuation of British citizens from Libya.

22.00 Libyans in Benghazi are said to be celebrating but the country remains in a fragile state and events tomorrow – where there are rumours that Gaddafi will try to regain control of the east – are rife. For all of Wednesday’s events, see below; for the latest updates, check out our Live Blog, above.

21.10 Saif Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, tells Libyan TV “life is normal, ports and airports all open”, and adds that the “problem lies in eastern regions”.

20.30 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says “everything” is on the table to try and stop Gaddafi using violence against his own citizens – but stressed that the safety of US citizens was her first concern.

“Everything will be on the table. We will look at all the possible options to try to bring an end to the violence, to try to influence the government, but as I said yesterday … in any situation, our foremost concern has to be for the safety and security of our own citizens,” said the Secretary of State.

19.30 Professor Tim Niblock tells Channel 4 News the regular army in Libya holds a lesser position in the state – but he can envisage a post-Gaddafi alliance between defectors from the army and tribal leaders. He says Gaddafi will not just get on a plane and leave – and that no Arab or European country would accept him. Niblock says Gaddafi is friends with Robert Mugabe so could go to Zimbabwe.

19.10 Foreign Secretary William Hague tells Channel 4 News:We have positioned miltiary aircraft nearer to Libya. One way or another we’ll get people out of Tripoli.”

18.00 US considering freezing assets belonging to the Libyan government and leader Muammar Gaddafi.

17.41 Is Gaddafi on the brink of losing power? Read our full story with all the latest information and video.

17.05 As worldwide diplomatic defections hit Gaddafi – with his representatives from Australia to Malaysia condemining the Libyan leader – around 17,000 Egyptians are said to have crossed the border back into Egypt.

17.00 A plane which Al Jazeera reported is believed to be carrying Gaddafi’s daughter has been turned back from the airport in Malta, officials said.

16.30 Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander: ” I have concerns the Government has been slow off the mark in a dangerous and deteriorating situation in Libya.”

16.20 The eastern city of Benghazi has been alive with celebration with thousands out on the streets, setting off fireworks and condemning the Libyan leader (Reuters)

Anti-Gaddafi protesters have hung effigies with “Mercenaries” written on them from lamp-posts, saying paid gunmen from Africa were sent by Gaddafi to try to suppress them. “Libya is Free! Libya is Free!”, they chanted.

Graphic: Arab world unrest - the story so far in 2011.

16.15 Crude oil prices surged once again today amid concerns that the violent power struggle in Libya will spark further unrest in other major producing nations.

Brent crude topped the 110 US dollars mark for the first time since September 2008 while benchmark crude for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up more than two dollars at 98 US dollars.

16.00 Scottish oil worker James Coyle, who is trapped in the Libyan desert, has criticised the Government’s attempts to get Britons home: “We are living a nightmare and we have asked the British Government and they have just totally ignored us.

“They don’t reply to emails, they have cut off the phones to Tripoli. We told them the situation three days ago – they never even replied to us.

“We have been left without any protection whatsoever.”

His daughter Julie O’Shea says her dad is fearful for his life – watch video below:

15.45 About 2,000 people had streamed over the Ras Jdir crossing between Libya and Tunisia by midday according to Reuters

15.15 Watch William Hague’s full statement on the Libya crisis below.

15.10 #c4News Alex Thomson blogs from the Libyan border as workers flee Tripoli.

15.05 The Foreign Office is planning to axe around 450 jobs from embassies and consulates around the world, including posts helping UK citizens and supporting diplomats, union leaders claim. They describe the move as short-sighted.

15.00 Youtube video of Libyan security forces cracking down on protesters – watch below.

(Warning: you may find this video distressing)