Libya’s interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil on Wednesday urged NATO to continue its Libya campaign until year’s end, saying loyalists of slain despot Moamer Kadhafi still pose a threat to the country.
Abdel Jalil’s comments, made at a Doha conference of military allies of his National Transitional Council (NTC), came a day after Kadhafi’s body was buried in secret under cover of darkness after being displayed in public for four days.
“We hope (NATO) will continue its campaign until at least the end of this year to serve us and neighbouring countries,” NTC chairman Abdel Jalil told the Conference of Friends Committee.
This request is aimed at “ensuring that no arms are infiltrated into those countries and to ensure the security of Libyans from some remnants of Kadhafi’s forces who have fled to nearby countries,” he added.
The NTC is also seeking help from NATO in “developing Libya’s defence and security systems,” Abdel Jalil told the conference.
UN envoy Ian Martin told the Security Council that international inspectors need to visit hundreds of suspected weapons stockpiles in Libya amid growing fears that huge numbers of shoulder-fired missiles have been looted.
He also said said that new previously undeclared sites for storing chemical weapons had been uncovered since the fall of Kadhafi’s government.
Kadhafi’s regime had “accumulated the largest known stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles,” Martin said.
“Thousands were destroyed during NATO operations. But I have to report to you our increasing concerns over the looting and likely proliferation of MANPADS,” or Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, Martin said.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said NATO’s existing campaign in Libya was over but that the alliance was seeking other ways to help the country.
“We are in a new phase,” Juppe said.
“The military engagement, which accomplished the objectives we were pursuing, is now over. Is there another way to accompany the NTC (new leaders) in this period, which is still a transitional period? We will look at this,” he told journalists.
In New York, Libya’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said the NTC may formally ask the Security Council to extend the mandate because a national army has yet to be activated.
However, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose country said the original mandate was abused to bring down the Kadhafi regime rather than protect civilians, said an extension past October 31 would be “unrealistic.”
Dabbashi also told the Security Council that preliminary reports from the inquiry into Kadhafi’s controversial death indicated he was not shot after his detention but died of injuries sustained before capture.
“According to initial reports, none of the revolutionaries fired at him after arresting him,” he said.
“According to the initial inquiries and information we have, Kadhafi was injured in the course of the clashes between his loyalists and the revolutionaries,” Dabbashi told the council.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed his “disgust” at the world media for its graphic coverage of Kadhafi’s death.
“Almost the entire Kadhafi family was killed. His body was shown on all the world channels. You could not watch without disgust,” news agencies quoted Putin as saying.
Disquiet has grown internationally over how Kadhafi met his end after NTC fighters hauled him out of a culvert where he was hiding following NATO air strikes on the convoy in which he had been trying to flee his falling hometown.
Mobile phone videos show him still alive at that point.
Qatar revealed that hundreds of its troops had been involved alongside Libyans in their battle to topple the longtime despot.
Previously the gas-rich country said it had only lent the support of its air force to the operations.
Qatar’s chief of staff Major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Atiya said the Qatari personnel had been “running the training and communication operations.”
“Qatar had supervised the rebels’ plans because they are civilians and did not have enough military experience. We acted as the link between the rebels and NATO forces,” he said.
Sudan revealed that it had provided weapons shipments to the anti-Kadhafi forces in retaliation for his regime’s funding and arming of rebels in Darfur.
“The Sudanese people gave its support, both humanitarian assistance and weapons, which were delivered to all the revolutionaries, in Misrata, in the western mountains, in Zawiyah and in all of Libya’s regions,” President Omar al-Bashir said.
The International Criminal Court said that Libya’s southern neighbour Niger was bound by treaty to hand over Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam and brother-in-law and longtime intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi if they joined other former regime figures in seeking refuge there.
“There is definitely an obligation on Niger to cooperate as it is a state party to the Rome Statute,” the ICC’s founding document, said court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah.
Seif al-Islam and Senussi, who are both wanted by the court on charges of crimes against humanity, were poised to cross into Niger, a Tuareg official said on Tuesday.