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Downing St hails Libya 'progress'

Britain has hailed key advances by rebels in Libya - and insisted there would be no let up in the campaign against Muammar Gaddafi.

Downing Street said assaults on two strategically-important towns near Tripoli demonstrated that "progress" was being made.

Fierce fighting has been reported in Zawiya, just 30 miles west of the capital, and Gharyan, 50 miles to the south.

If the towns fall to the rebels, they could effectively block land access to the dictator's stronghold, while Nato controls sea routes.

Gaddafi has issued a defiant message on Libyan state television, urging supporters "to get ready for the fight".

"Move forward, challenge, pick up your weapons, go to the fight for liberating Libya inch by inch from the traitors and from Nato," he said in the audio statement.

Speculation is growing that the campaign could be entering its endgame. Unconfirmed rumours have claimed that the regime is in talks with rebels over Gaddafi's departure, and there are predictions of further significant defections.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said: "We have seen some progress over the weekend. Clearly that is welcome.

"We have been saying for some time that we think the Nato operation is proving successful in eroding Gaddafi's ability to wage war against his own people.

"We are going to continue to apply that pressure and we will be patient and persistent in doing so until Gaddafi stops brutalising his people."


From Belfast Telegraph