EU leaders urge Gaddafi to hand over power

France, Germany and Italy have renewed their calls for Muammar Gaddafi to officially step down in the wake of the rebel storming of Tripoli. There are fears of more bloodshed amid rumors France may order its troops to capture the Libyan leader.

­President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his full support for the rebels battling Gaddafi’s troops in and around the Libyan capital.

“At the moment when decisive events are taking place in the Tripoli region, in Tripoli itself, and elsewhere in Libya, the president salutes the courage of the rebel fighters and of the Libyan people who are rising up,” Sarkozy’s office stated on Sunday night, as quoted by Reuters news agency.

Sarkozy reiterated that France is backing the National Transitional Council, the “legitimate Libyan authorities.” He also called on Gaddafi to immediately give up power and order his forces to cease fire.

The other major European force helping the rebels is Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron has cut his holiday short in a show of support for Libya’s newly-constituted National Security Council. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is preparing to give a speech on the issue. He is expected to say that the fall of Gaddafi is closer than ever. He will defend Britain’s decision to intervene.

The head of Italy’s Foreign Ministry has joined the call for Gaddafi to go. Germany has also said that Gaddafi should swiftly step aside.

Colonel Gaddafi has made a televised address to the people of Libya in which he warned that the rebels would burn Tripoli and leave it without food, water or electricity.

Defense experts in France warn that Sarkozy may use military force in Tripoli, and street-to-street warfare will put many more civilian lives at risk. There is also some expectation that Western powers will divide up Libya between themselves, notably its vast oil reserves.

­The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has had to cut short his holiday for the second time since rioting erupted in London – this time, it is to respond to the situation in Libya.

The PM chaired a meeting of the national Security Council on Libya discussing first and foremost what is going to happen there after Gaddafi’s regime falls: how to ensure a smooth transition with no interruptions in food, energy and medical supplies, in accordance with the UN resolution on protecting civilians.

Cameron welcomed the news of the rebels entering Tripoli and capturing most of the city. He said that after Gaddafi steps down the future of the Libyan people will be in their own hands. He said during the transition period to democratic leadership power will remain in the hands of the rebel National Transitional Council, which Western countries already recognize as the country’s legitimate government.

Cameron stressed that NATO troops will remain in Libya to ensure the transitional period proceeds smoothly. 

The British PM also said that the future of Muammar Gaddafi will be in the hands of National Transitional Council.

EU leaders have expressed relief and opened discussions on arrangements for a post-Gaddafi Libya. However, it appears that none of them has considered the possibility of Libya fragmenting into several independent states and even turning into a new Iraq.

­Investigative journalist and author Michel Collon agrees that the EU’s concern for Libya’s future has little to do with the interests of the Libyans themselves.

“The key question is, indeed, oil. It is well known that it is a war for oil, that the so-called opposition government has promised to give the oil to France, Great Britain and the United States,” he told RT. “This government does not exist. It is a puppet government. Of course it’s about oil. It’s always about oil.”

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