World leaders urge Gaddafi to surrender

Elizabeth Fournier
AS REBEL forces moved closer to gaining control of Tripoli yesterday, world leaders united in urging ordinary Libyans to finally push out Colonel Gaddafi after 41 years in power.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the tyrant had “committed appalling crimes against the people of Libya and he must go now to avoid any further suffering”.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President who is set to claim vindication after taking an early gamble on backing the Libyan rebels, called on Gaddafi loyalists “to turn their back on the criminal and cynical blindness of their leader by immediately... turning themselves in to the legitimate Libyan authorities”.

And US President Barack Obama joined calls for Gaddafi to cede control, saying: “Muammar Gaddafi and his regime need to recognise that their rule has come to an end.”

Politicians across the globe were also focused yesterday on escalating violence in Syria, where government forces shot dead three people who had gathered among crowds welcoming a UN team to the country.

The United Nations humanitarian team arrived as the organisation’s Human Rights Council held an emergency meeting in Geneva called by 24 UN member states, including the Middle East’s Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The UN said that the death toll had now reached 2,200 since president Bashar al-Assad started a crackdown on protests that began in mid-March.

Syria is facing increasing international pressure to end the violence, but Assad has remained defiant throughout, insisting at the weekend that “any action against Syria will have greater consequences [on those who carry it out], than they can tolerate”.