Key Libyan diplomats disown Gadhafi''s regime

United Nations, Feb 22 (AP) Key Libyan diplomats disownedMoammar Gadhafi''s regime and the country''s deputy UNambassador called on the longtime ruler to step down becauseof its bloody crackdown on protesters.

The Libyan ambassador to the United States also said hecould no longer support Gadhafi, and the ambassador to Indiaresigned.

Almost all Libyan diplomats at the United Nations backeddeputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi''s pleas to Gadhafi to endhis 40-year rule and to the international community tointervene.

As diplomatic support for Gadhafi began to crumble,Dabbashi warned that if he doesn''t leave, "the Libyan peoplewill get rid of him."

Gadhafi''s security forces unleashed the most deadlycrackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protestssweeping the region, with reports yesterday that demonstratorswere being fired at from helicopters and warplanes.

After seven days of protests and deadly clashes inLibya''s eastern cities, the eruption of turmoil in thecapital, Tripoli, sharply escalated the challenge to Gadhafi.

Libya''s ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali, told BBCWorld that the reports of firing from warplanes spurred hisdecision not to support the government any more.

"To me it is a very sad moment seeing Libyans killingother Libyans," he said. "I''m not supporting the governmentkilling its people. ... I''m (not) resigning Moammar Gadhafi''sgovernment, but I am with the people. I am representing thepeople in the street, the people who''ve been killed, thepeople who''ve been destroyed. Their life is in danger."

Dabbashi, the deputy UN ambassador, also said he and theUN diplomats were not resigning because they served the peopleof Libya and not the regime.

"This is in fact a declaration of war against the Libyanpeople," he told reporters, surrounded by a dozen Libyandiplomats. "The regime of Gadhafi has already started thegenocide against the Libyan people."

Dabbashi said he was writing to the UN Security Councilcalling for action to stop the bloodshed.

Libya''s UN Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham was not present atDabbashi''s press conference. He told the UN correspondent forthe pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, that all diplomats atLibya''s mission supported Dabbashi "excluding me."

Shalgham said he was in touch with the Gadhafi governmentand was trying "to persuade them to stop these acts."Libya''s Ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi, speaking to theBBC, said: "I want to make aware that I resign today from myposition ... because of the using of massive violence againstLibyan civilians." (AP)

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