Pressure mounts on Gaddafi from both within and outside

Written by: Pti
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Rania and Lalit K JhaCairo/Washington, Feb 26 (PTI) Libya''s embattledleader Muammar Gaddafi had his back to the wall, with theunprecedented revolt for his ouster inching closer to Tripoliand the US slapping unilateral sanctions freezing his assets.

As the international community stepped up efforts toisolate his regime, an obdurate Gaddafi vowed to crush therebellion against his 41-year rule and proposed to arm hissupporters.

"We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm thepeople," he said in footage aired on Libyan state TV.

"I am in the middle of the people.. we will fight ...

we will defeat them if they want .. we will defeat any foreignaggression," said the 68-year-old Libyan ruler.

His address came as the violence flared up in hisbastion Tripoli, with security forces loyal to Gaddafi firingindiscriminately on thousands of demonstrators after theFriday prayers yesterday.

Across Libya, protesters braced up for a potentiallylengthy battle to overturn the regime, even as reports saidthat the Army in several areas had turned hostile to thegovernment.

In his most aggressive action against Libya since theviolence began, US President Barack Obama issued an executiveorder announcing unilateral sanctions on the country freezingthe assets in America of Gaddafi, his family and loyalists.

"By any measure, Muammar el-Gaddafi''s government hasviolated international norms and common decency and must beheld accountable," Obama said in a statement after he issuedthe executive order late last night.

"These sanctions therefore target the Gaddafigovernment, while protecting the assets that belong to thepeople of Libya," he said.

The executive order blocks the property and interestsin property of a number of individuals, including four ofGaddafi''s sons, officials of the Libyan government and thoseresponsible for human rights violations in that country.

Libya''s ambassador to the UN became the latestofficial to openly renounce the regime.

Mohamed Shalgam, a childhood friend of Gaddafi, brokeinto tears after denouncing the leader and called for a"courageous resolution" from the Security Council to saveLibya.

The envoy accused Gaddafi and his sons of givingLibyans an "either I rule you or I kill you" ultimatum.

The US also suspended its military ties with Libya andclosed down its embassy in Tripoli.

The action came minutes after a charter flight leftTripoli carrying the last Americans who wanted to leave Libya.

"It''s clear that Colonel Gaddafi has lost theconfidence of his people," White House Press Secretary JayCarney said. (More) PTI KIM WAJ VMN

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