Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Nicolas Sarkozy wrecks EU bid for unity over Libya

A Libyan volunteer carries ammunition on the outskirts of the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya, Thursday, March 10, 2011
A Libyan volunteer carries ammunition on the outskirts of the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya, Thursday, March 10, 2011
Libyan volunteers cheer as smoke rises from the oil port of Sidr in the background, in the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. A high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo on Wednesday with a message for Egyptian army officials from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pounded opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels advance during a battle with government troops as a facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: A Libyan rebel scans the frontline as a facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: A Libyan rebel scans the frontline as a facility burns during fighting on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels advance during a battle with government troops as a facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS JDIR, TUNISIA - MARCH 09: Men who recently crossed into Tunisia from Libya are pushed back while trying to get into a food tent in a United Nations displacement camp on March 09, 2011 in Ras Jdir, Tunisia. As fighting continues in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli, tens of thousands of guest workers from Egypt, Tunisia, Bangladesh and other countries have fled to the border of Tunisia to escape the violence. The situation has turned into a humanitarian emergency as fledgling Tunisia is overwhelmed with the workers. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to fight to the end. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
RAS JDIR, TUNISIA - MARCH 09: A Bangladeshi man who recently crossed into Tunisia from Libya pauses a United Nations displacement camp on March 9, 2011 in Ras Jdir, Tunisia. As fighting continues in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli, tens of thousands of guest workers from Egypt, Tunisia, Bangladesh and other countries have fled to the border of Tunisia to escape the violence. The situation has turned into a humanitarian emergency as fledgling Tunisia is overwhelmed with the workers. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to fight to the end. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
RAS JDIR, TUNISIA - MARCH 09: Somali women who recently crossed into Tunisia from Libya wait for food outside of a feeding center in a United Nations sponsored displacement camp on March 09, 2011 in Ras Jdir, Tunisia. As fighting continues in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli, tens of thousands of guest workers from Egypt, Tunisia, Bangladesh and other countries have fled to the border of Tunisia to escape the violence. The situation has turned into a humanitarian emergency as fledgling Tunisia is overwhelmed with the workers. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to fight to the end. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels take positions while fighting government troops as a facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels fire rockets at government troops on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Libyan rebel fighters leave on top of an anti-aircraft machine gun towed by a loaded truck of ammunition supplied by an ammunition storage wear house, unseen in the eastern town of Brega, Libya Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Moammar Gadhafi says Libyans will fight if a no-fly zone is imposed by Western nations, saying that would show their real intention is to seize the country's oil. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Anti-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi rebel rest next to his anti-aircraft machine gun, in Ras Lanouf town, eastern Libya, on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. A high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo on Wednesday with a message for Egyptian army officials from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pounded opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels take cover from government fire as a natural gas facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Libyan volunteers cheer as smoke rises from the oil port of Sirdra in the background, in the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. A high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo on Wednesday with a message for Egyptian army officials from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pounded opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebels, prepare to fire rockets during fighting against pro- Gadhafi fighters, in Sidra town, eastern Libya, on Wednesday March 9, 2011. A high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo on Wednesday with a message for Egyptian army officials from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pounded opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebels, walk forward to fight as smokes rises from a fuel storage facility that attacked during a fighting against pro-Moammar Gadhafi fighters, in Sidr town, eastern Libya, on Wednesday March 9, 2011. A high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo on Wednesday with a message for Egyptian army officials from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pounded opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Rebel fighters advance on the frontline as rebel Katusha rockets fly overhead towards government positions on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels fire Katusha rockets at government troops on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi westward towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: A rebel fighter carries of load of rocket propelled grenades while advancing on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: A Libyan rebel carries an independence-era Libyan flag as a facility burns during fighting on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels pause to pray before a battle with government troops on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels take cover as a government jet fighter passes overhead near the frontline on March 9, 2011 in Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: A rebel fighter naps ahead of a battle against government troops near the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels fire rockets at government troops on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi westward towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels take cover during a battle with government troops as a facility burns on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels pushed back government troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 09: Libyan rebels take cover while battling government troops on the frontline on March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf, Libya. The rebels repulsed a government offensive on Ras Lanuf and pushed back troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi towards Ben Jawat. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A Libyan pro-democracy activist prays on the outskirts of the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya (AP)
Libyan rebels cheer in the eastern town of Ras Lanouf (AP)
An anti-Gaddafi rebel stands on a vehicle holding several weapons at a checkpoint between Ras Lanuf and Bin-Jawad (AP)
Anti-Gaddafi rebels fire rockets during fighting near the town of Bin-Jawad, eastern Libya (AP)
A Libyan rebel shouts slogans after the capture of the oil town of Ras Lanuf, in eastern Libya (AP)
People who used to work in Libya and fled the unrest wait in line for food at a Tunisian refugee camp (AP)
A Libyan rebel near the oil town of Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya (AP)
A Libyan surveys a jacuzzi inside a destroyed palace owned by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the eastern town of Beyda, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, quashing an attempt Monday to hold new protests as residents reported skyrocketing food prices from the crisis. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
A Libyan man walks as drivers wait in line in their cars for gasoline at a gas station that was just reopened after many days closed because of the fighting between Government and anti-government forces in the southwester town of Nalut, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The town is currently in control of the Libyan anti-government forces. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Libyan anti-government fighters man a checkpoint in the outskirts of the southwestern town of Nalut, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Libyan anti-government fighters man a checkpoint in the outskirts of the southwestern town of Nalut, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The town is currently in control of the anti-government forces. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Libyan anti-government fighter flashes the V-sign as the mans a checkpoint in the outskirts of the southwestern town of Nalut, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The town is currently in control of the Libyan anti-government forces. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Libyan boy with an empty ammunition belt surveys destroyed weapons boxes at a burned out army base in the eastern town of Shahat, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Moammar Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, quashing an attempt Monday to hold new protests as residents reported skyrocketing food prices from the crisis. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
A defected Libyan soldier stands near a weapons cache at a maintenance base in the eastern town of Shahat, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Moammar Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, quashing an attempt Monday to hold new protests as residents reported skyrocketing food prices from the crisis. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
A Pro-Gadhafi supporter simulates the salute portrayed in a photograph of the Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, as he and others stage a small rally, standing on the stage of the Roman amphitheatre at the Sabratha archaeological site, after following foreign journalists there who visited on a government-provided tour, in Sabratha, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Gadhafi supporters said Monday that they were in control of the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, which has seemed to vacillate between the two camps over the past week, with some anti-Gadhafi graffiti scrawled on walls being painted over by residents. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Pro-Gadhafi supporters stage a rally as foreign journalists arrive on a government-provided tour in Sabratha, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Gadhafi supporters said Monday that they were in control of the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, which has seemed to vacillate between the two camps over the past week, with some anti-Gadhafi graffiti scrawled on walls being painted over by residents. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Libyan militia members who are now part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi organize ammunition at a military base in Benghazi, in eastern Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Pro-Gadhafi supporters stage a rally as foreign journalists arrive on a government-provided tour in Sabratha, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Gadhafi supporters said Monday that they were in control of the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, which has seemed to go back and forth between the two camps the past week, with some anti-Gadhafi graffiti scrawled on walls being painted over by residents. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A Libyan rebel stands in the damaged and vandalized former bedroom that was used by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his family at the terminal of the airport in Benghazi, in eastern Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
A Libyan rebel that is a member of forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi wears ammunition outside a military base in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
A Libyan soldier from forces that defected against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi guards next to an anti-aircraft battery outside a military base in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade, led by Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis Gadhafi, take positions and check vehicles after arriving hours earlier on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Rebel forces in Zawiya were locked in a standoff with Gadhafi loyalists and residents inside the city said they were anticipating a possible attack. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade, led by Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis Gadhafi, take positions and check vehicles after arriving hours earlier on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Rebel forces in Zawiya were locked in a standoff with Gadhafi loyalists and residents inside the city said they were anticipating a possible attack. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade, led by Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis Gadhafi, take positions and check vehicles after arriving hours earlier on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Rebel forces in Zawiya were locked in a standoff with Gadhafi loyalists and residents inside the city said they were anticipating a possible attack. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade, led by Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis Gadhafi, take positions and check vehicles after arriving hours earlier on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Rebel forces in Zawiya were locked in a standoff with Gadhafi loyalists and residents inside the city said they were anticipating a possible attack. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Pro-Gadhafi supporters in a car speed past a vehicle used to transport tanks from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade, led by Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis Gadhafi, hours after the Khamis units were deployed on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Rebel forces in Zawiya were locked in a standoff with Gadhafi loyalists and residents inside the city said they were anticipating a possible attack. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Libyan men inspects the grounds of a destroyed palace owned by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the eastern town of Beyda, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, quashing an attempt Monday to hold new protests as residents reported skyrocketing food prices from the crisis. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
A Libyan man throws a piece of wood into the pool inside a destroyed palace owned by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the eastern town of Beyda, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, quashing an attempt Monday to hold new protests as residents reported skyrocketing food prices from the crisis. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
A Libyan boy washes out his clothes in the pool inside a destroyed palace owned by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the eastern town of Beyda, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, quashing an attempt Monday to hold new protests as residents reported skyrocketing food prices from the crisis. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
Flames are seen after an explosion at an ammunition storage facility at a military base in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, eastern Libya (AP)
A Libyan rebel holds a sword near Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya (AP)
Tunisian soldiers stand guard as Bangladeshi workers fleeing Libya walk with their belongings (AP)

The European Union's response to Muammar Gaddafi's onslaught against dissident forces was in disarray last night as France struck out on its own to recognise Libyan rebels as the country's legitimate government.

Foreign ministers responded with a mixture of anger and dismay after the announcement by Nicolas Sarkozy following attempts by the EU to present a united front by rubber-stamping a new package of sanctions targeting the country's financial assets.

Most EU nations appeared to distance themselves from France with the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle saying that Sarkozy appeared to have acted “on a whim”.

British sources also made it clear that they were wary of following suit. One said: “We are going to take it step by step. Our approach is that we're keen to speak to all sides and develop our contacts with opposition figures.”

The confusion at a special meeting in Brussels to discuss Libya came as rebel fighters were forced to retreat from the strategic town of Ras Lanuf after a sustained artillery and air attack. The rebel forces fled alongside the the town's few remaining residents at the approach of regime troops and tanks.

As he drove away in a Toyota pick-up truck, volunteer fighter Rahim Mastri (22) said: “There was nothing to be gained by staying there, we would have been killed. They have got heavier guns and we cannot match them.”

The rebel forces headed back east towards Benghazi, the capital of ‘Free Libya’, amid growing concerns among the rebel forces that Colonel Gaddafi's forces could reverse early rebel gains during the last weeks of fighting and close in on their stronghold.

Senior officers blamed a lack of communication and organisation for the defeat. “There has been no planning, no defences set up, so Gaddafi's men could just come in,” said Captain Ahmed Ibadullah, a former Libyan army officer who defected to the revolution. “We now need to regroup and see what we can do.” The regime also appeared to be in control of the key battleground of Zawiya, the most westerly of the towns that has appeared within the grasp of the anti-Gaddafi forces.

But the victory — at least for now — reportedly came at the cost of dozens of casualties and serious damage to buildings in the centre.

In Tripoli Saif Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's son, ended an hour-long speech to a noisy and excitable youth conference with a warning to the armed ‘gangs’ that “we are coming to you”.

Mr Gaddafi listed a string of atrocities which he said had been committed by the rebels in eastern Libya and ridiculed the presence of a British warship in waters outside Benghazi.

“The Libyan people are facing genocide, the annihilation of an entire population through the use of air power and heavy artillery,” Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the rebel leadership, told Reuters.

After early optimism of sweeping away the 42-year dictatorship was replaced by growing awareness that outside help was needed to replace the entrenched regime, the rebel leadership has called for a no-fly zone and airstrikes against the Gaddafi regime .

However, the European response descended into bickering last night as clear divisions emerged over plans for a no-fly zone between the partners.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed one could be established “very, very quickly” after Britain and France had done the work at the United Nations Security Council to prepare a resolution and Nato was planning practical steps to be taken.

But Germany opposed a no-fly zone. “We do not want to get sucked into a war in North Africa,” said Mr Westerwelle. The US, which would play a major role in policing any no-fly zone, has been lukewarm at best about attempts to impose one.

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