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UN Chief to Convene Libya Meeting This Week

Libyan rebel fighters return fire during an attack by pro-Gadhafi forces after rebels seized a Gadhafi army women's officer training center in Tripoli August 22, 2011
Libyan rebel fighters return fire during an attack by pro-Gadhafi forces after rebels seized a Gadhafi army women's officer training center in Tripoli August 22, 2011

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he will convene a meeting of regional and international organizations on the situation in Libya. The U.N. chief also called for the forces of embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to cease violence immediately and make way for a smooth transition with no further loss of life.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters he has spoken with leaders from the Arab League, African Union and European Union, and plans to meet with them and other actors later this week, possibly Friday at U.N. headquarters.

He added that his special envoy for Libya, former Jordanian foreign minister Abdel Elah al-Khatib, and his special advisor on post-conflict planning, Ian Martin, would travel to Doha, Qatar to meet with the leadership of the National Transitional Council.

Mr. Ban said the United Nations is ready to assist the Libyan people in any way it can.

“The United Nations is now prepared to assist in all vital areas including security and the rule of law; social-economic recovery; constitution-making and the electoral process; human rights and transitional justice; and coordination of support from Libya’s neighbors and international community,” said Ban.

The Secretary-General also called for the U.N. Security Council, which authorized NATO’s No-Fly-Zone and targeted bombings to protect Libyan civilians, to play a responsive role in post-conflict planning and needs.

“This is a hopeful moment, but there are risks ahead. Now is the time for all Libyans to focus on national unity, reconciliation and inclusiveness,” the U.N. chief said.

Mr. Ban said it is important the conflict ends with no further loss of life and without retribution and he welcomed assurances from rebel leader Mustafa Abdel-Jalil that "extreme care" would be taken to protect civilians and maintain law and order.

Responding to reporters’ questions, Mr. Ban said he had no personal information on Mr. Gadhafi’s whereabouts, but hoped he would be found quickly.

Libya’s former deputy U.N. ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, defected to the opposition early on. He said the end of months of fighting between government forces and the rebels is very near.

“I think it is the end of Gadhafi, we expect to have Gadhafi captured soon. And I think as soon as we get Gadhafi it is the end of the game," said Dabbashi. "And, now as you see people are celebrating in Tripoli. And those who are still fighting against the freedom fighters, it is only on a personal basis, it is not forces who are siding with Gadhafi.  So I think in the next few hours we will see the final fall of the regime, and it is the transitional government which will take over and we start the normal life as before.”

He tells VOA there is a timetable in the constitutional declaration to help the transition process, including elections within the next eight months, and the National Transitional Council has plans for stabilizing the country after Colonel Gadhafi’s ouster.

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