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Libya's De Facto Premier Warns Toughest Battles Still Ahead


Mahmud Jibril

Mahmud Jibril

Libya's new de-facto prime minister has warned that liberation was not yet finished, and the hardest challenges were yet to come.

Speaking in the capital, Tripoli, for the first time since Muammar Qaddafi's ouster, Mahmud Jibril, the deputy head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), called for unity and patience.

"This is a stage where we have to unify, be together, speak with one voice, and have national honor not to attack each other and not to push each other away," he said, "because the battle has not finished yet."

Jibril said the battle for Libya's liberation will end with the "capture or elimination of Qaddafi." But he gave few indications about how close the NTC was to tracking Qaddafi down.

Qaddafi, meanwhile, has dismissed speculation that he has fled south to neighboring Niger. Speaking from an undisclosed location on a Syria-based TV station, Qaddafi vowed to defeat NATO and the "rats" who he said have "overrun his country."

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he has asked the international police organization Interpol to help with Qaddafi's arrest for crimes against humanity.

In related news, the new governor of Libya's central bank says the former regime sold about 20 percent of the country's gold reserves to pay salaries amid the uprising that ousted Qaddafi.

Qassim Azzuz told reporters in Tripoli on September 8 that Qaddafi's regime sold 29 tons of gold to local traders in April as the regime ran short of cash.

Libya is believed to have about 145 tons of gold reserves. Azzuz also said that none of the bank's assets were "missing or were stolen" during the uprising.

He said the bank's assets now stand at around $115 billion, of which $90 billion is abroad.

compiled from agency reports

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