10 Mar 2011

Libyan leader says no-fly zone will be resisted

3:16 pm on 10 March 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi claims his people will take up arms if a no-fly zone is imposed by the United Nations, as many rebels in Libya have been calling for.

In an interview with Turkish television, Colonel Gaddafi said a no-fly zone would show that the true intention of the West is to seize Libya's oil.

There have been mounting calls for a ban on military flights by Libyan government forces through its own airspace. If such a zone were imposed, any aircraft violating it would risk being shot down by international forces.

The United States says any decision about it rests with the UN.

Britain and France are drafting a Security Council resolution but council approval, if it happens, could be some way off.

In the interview with TRT TV, Colonel Gaddafi said: "If they take such a decision, it will be useful for Libya, because the Libyan people will see the truth, that what they want is to take control of Libya and to steal their oil.

"Then the Libyan people will take up arms against them."

A BBC correspondent in Tripoli says the Libyan leader appears increasingly confident and belligerent, showing no willingness to compromise.

Senior official flies to Cairo

A private jet carrying a senior official from the Gaddafi government has landed in Cairo.

Libyan embassy staff told Egyptian officials that Major-General Abdul-Rahman bin Ali al-Sayyid, the head of Libya's logistics and supply authority, was carrying a message from Colonel Gaddafi.

More than 1000 people are believed to have died since the uprising against the Gaddafi regime began last month. About 212,000 people - most of them migrant workers - have fled the country, the UN estimates.