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Libya's interim authority pledges move to Tripoli next week

Pro-Gaddafi forces continue to hold out in three areas of the country as the interim National Transitional Council promises democracy within 20 months.

Women celebrate the Libyan revolution and call for more rights in the capital of Tripoli on Friday.
Women celebrate the Libyan revolution and call for more rights in the capital of Tripoli on Friday.
Image: Alexandre Meneghini/AP/Press Association Images

THE INTERIM GOVERNMENT in Libya is set to move its headquarters from the eastern city of Benghazi to the capital Tripoli in the coming week.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the leader of the National Transitional Council (NTC), has told supporters that the move will happen as it tries to restore normality to the capital in the wake of the ousting of fugitive leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi whose loyal forces continue to hold out elsewhere in the country.

Jalil returned to Benghazi after a meeting with world leaders in Paris this week and told supporters: ”With God’s will, we will go to Tripoli in the next week, but before we go we salute the people and revolutionaries of Benghazi,” BBC News reports.

The NTC has promised to hold elections for a ruling council by next year whilst full democracy is promised during the next 20 months. It has said the priority is to get the economy back up and running again.

As pro-Gaddafi forces continue to hold in parts of the country, rebel forces have given Gaddafi loyalists in his hometown of Sirte until next Saturday to surrender or face a military onslaught.

It had initially set a deadline of today but that has been extended.

Gaddafi loyalists are also holding out in the town of  Bani Walid to the south east of Tripoli and much further south of this, the town of Sabha.

Gaddafi himself has insisted he will not surrender saying that “we are not women. We will keep fighting”.

Meanwhile AP reports, that just months after the siege of Misrata, the port city is bustling.

Stores are open, water is running and there is steady electricity — a sharp contrast to Libya’s recently conquered capital just 125 miles away.

But running through the heart of the city, like a raw wound, is Tripoli Street, once its commercial heart and later its main battleground.

Every building on the long, wide street has been marked by war, some with just a spattering of heavy machine gun fire across the facade, others with huge bites torn out by artillery.

Read: Libyan rebels round up black Africans >

Read: That was quick! Republic of Libya unveils new football kit >

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Hugh O'Connell

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