US heaps pressure on `delusional` Gaddafi

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 12:47

Washington: The United States has branded
Moamer Gaddafi "delusional" and moved naval and air forces
into position around Libya, bolstering the international bid
to drive the teetering strongman from power.

Washington also clamped a freeze on 30 billion dollars
in Libyan assets -- the largest such haul ever hooked by
sanctions and openly goaded key Gaddafi aides to defect. It
also said "exile" was an option to end his defiance.
President Barack Obama`s team sought to weaken Gaddafi
on multiple fronts, as international pressure on his fragile
regime multiplied and opposition forces bore down on his
Tripoli stronghold amid reports of new violence.

Gaddafi though punched his own rhetorical
counter-offensive, proclaiming in an interview with foreign
outlets that his people loved him and would die to protect
him, drawing fierce scorn from Washington.

"It sounds just frankly delusional, when he can talk
and laugh to an American and (an) international journalist
while he is slaughtering his own people," US ambassador to the
UN Susan Rice said at the White House.

"It only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how
disconnected he is from reality."

Rice said Washington was already contacting Libyan
opposition groups, though was not yet ready to recognize any
of them.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley added: "he
should get out of his tent and see what`s really happening in
his country."
Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the US
diplomatic thrust in Geneva, meeting with foreign ministers at
the UN Human Rights Council.

"The people of Libya have made themselves clear: it is
time for Gaddafi to go -- now, without further violence or
delay," she said, accusing him of unleashing "mercenaries and
thugs" on protesters.

The Pentagon meanwhile said it was moving naval and
air forces into position near Libya, as Western countries
weigh possible military intervention, and officials discussed
a possible "no fly" zone to protect civilians.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 12:47

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