Libya’s ‘exiled prince’ urges world action

Filed on March 10, 2011

LONDON — The heir apparent to Libya’s Western-backed monarchy, which Muammar Gaddafi overthrew in 1969, on Wednesday urged the international community to do more to help rid his nation of the strongman.

Speaking from his home in London, where he has lived in exile since 1988, Muhammad al-Senussi hailed as “heroes” the rebels who have been fighting deadly battles against regime forces for more than three weeks but said their situation was fast deteriorating.

“Brave people from every tribe and every region of Libya tell me the situation is getting worse by the hour,” the self-styled crown prince said.

“The murderous regime under Gaddafi continues to use air power and heavy weapons with vicious brutality against the Libyan people but the international community is saying a lot and doing nothing.

“We need less talk and more action,” he said.

“I am speaking for all Libyans when I ask for a no-fly zone and targeted air strikes on Gaddafi’s air defences although it would be wrong for troops on the ground and the people of Libya do not want it.”

Britain and France have prepared a draft UN Security Council resolution that would impose a no-fly zone over Libya but the move has run into resistance from veto-wielding permanent members China and Russia.

The United States has said a flight ban cannot be US-led but must have the support of the world body.

After the 1969 coup which overthrew Muhammad’s great uncle, Gaddafi confined the then seven-year-old and his family to house arrest before forcing him and the rest of the former royals out of the country in 1988.

The “crown prince” has previously said that a return to power is not his aim.

“I am in support of all Libyan tribes and groups, including the national transitional council in Benghazi, as long as they continue to act in the best interests of the Libyan people, and they all need immediate help from overseas governments,” he said on Wednesday.

He was referring to the self-declared transitional authority set up by the rebels in Libya’s second city whose representatives have been in contract with foreign governments in recent days.

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