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"Delusional" Libyan leader Gaddafi "unfit to lead", says US

America’s ambassador to the UN says Gaddafi is becoming unhinged, laughing while his people are being slaughtered.

Muammar Gaddafi laughs at an interviewer's suggestion that he leave Libya, from a clip aired by the BBC.
Muammar Gaddafi laughs at an interviewer's suggestion that he leave Libya, from a clip aired by the BBC.
Image: BBC

THE UNITED STATES’ permanent ambassador to the United Nations has said Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional” – and warned that he cannot be allowed to remain in power.

Speaking at the White House, Susan Rice said interviews carried out in the past days – some of which were aired last night in the UK and US – showed the Libyan figurehead as becoming “disconnected from reality.”

The fact he had laughed off suggestions he resign – saying he had no official position to step down from, while his citizens were quite obviously taking to the streets in opposition of his regime – further showed he was “unfit to lead”, the Guardian reports.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton menawhile said Gaddafi’s situation in the ongoing conflicts was “worsening”, saying the outgoing leader remained in control only of parts of the capital Tripoli and a shrinking area of the rest of the country.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon added that the regime had “declared war on its own people” – and, symbolically speaking in the Holocaust museum, said it was “up to us, the community of nations, to stand against this crime.”

Gaddafi’s interviews – among the first he has given to foreign media in many years, and given to outlets including the BBC – had seen him flatly deny that the uprisings in his country were a result of negativity towards him as a leader.

“All my people love me. They would die to protect me,” the 68-year-old said, again asserting that al-Qaeda was behind the wave of protests.

Those who had taken to the streets were not "true" Libyans, but were rather under the influence of drugs supplied by al-Qaeda.

The interviews came as the US said it had frozen almost €22bn in Libyan assets in the country - the largest amount on record that American authorities have ever blocked.

The Daily Telegraph reports, meanwhile, that Western nations are preparing to use military force against Gaddafi's regime, amid fears he may be readying chemical weapons for use against rebels.

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Gavan Reilly

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