Libya contact group urges Gaddafi to turn himself in

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2011 1:11 PM
Libya contact group urges Gaddafi to turn himself in

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The Libya Contact Group of international powers on Thursday urged Muammar Gaddafi to turn himself in to avoid further bloodshed in the North African nation.

The group urged in a statement at the end of a meeting in Istanbul, the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution currently under discussion to unfreeze Libyan assets.

"In view of the seizure of Tripoli by the National Transitional Council (NTC) forces, they (participants) stressed the need for Gaddafi and his inner circle to turn themselves in to justice immediately in order to prevent further bloodshed and destruction of the national infrastructure," it said.

Libyan rebel forces began to purge Tripoli's streets of gunmen still loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday in the final phase of the battle for the Libyan capital.

Rebels said they were confident they could mop up diehard soldiers clinging to a leader now on the run, presumed to be in hiding in the country he ruled for four decades.

But the contact group, made up of 28 different nations and seven international organizations, called on the Libyan people to avoid exacting revenge and stressed the importance of national reconciliation.

"The participants attached utmost importance to the realization of national reconciliation in Libya," it said.

"They agreed that such a process should be based on principles of inclusiveness, avoidance of retribution and vengeance."

The rebel NTC has offered a reward for Gaddafi's capture and the International Criminal Court has charged him with crimes against humanity.

The contact group also urged the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution currently under discussion to unfreeze Libyan assets and agreed to free up these assets in an "expedited" manner.

World leaders and the rebel government-in-waiting have lost no time readying a handover of Libya's substantial foreign assets as funds will be required to bring relief to war-torn towns and develop oil reserves.

After talks with Arab and Western allies in Qatar on Wednesday, a senior rebel leader said the NTC would seek to have $5 billion in frozen assets released to provide vital relief to its citizens. The amount is higher than a previously given estimate of $2.5 billion.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Jonathon Burch)