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World Leaders Praise Libyan Rebel Advances

Libyan rebel fighters gesture at the former female military base in Tripoli, LIbya, August 22, 2011
Libyan rebel fighters gesture at the former female military base in Tripoli, LIbya, August 22, 2011

World leaders are applauding the rebel advance into Libya's capital, Tripoli, as a step toward ending violence in the country and beginning a democratic future.

Calls for an end

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Italy all have said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's rule is coming to an end, and they have urged the Libyan leader to step down in order to avoid more bloodshed. In Paris, the French Foreign Ministry spokesman told VOA Monday that Gadhafi's "time is over in Libya."

France says the head of Libya's opposition group will travel to Paris in the next few days.  France was the first country to recognize the rebel opposition's Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

Recognizing rebels

Egypt formally recognized Libya's rebel national council on Monday. Libyan rebels began their uprising after an Egyptian revolt ended President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule earlier this year.

Russia said Monday it hoped the rebel takeover would stop the "drawn-out bloodshed" that has brought suffering to the Libyan people. The Russian Foreign Ministry encouraged the international community to stay out of Libya's internal affairs.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the rebel advance into Tripoli has helped the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East establish the beginnings of democracy in the region. He said London soon will be able to unfreeze foreign Libyan assets for use by the Libyan people.

Building a future

The top U.S. Middle East official, Jeff Feltman, told ABC News Monday from Cairo that Gadhafi is now "part of Libya's past" and that the rebels are "clearly winning."  He said Libyans now need to look to build a better future.

China said Monday it "respects the choice of the Libyan people" and hopes stability returns to the country quickly.

U.S. President Barack Obama called on Gadhafi Sunday to "relinquish power once and for all." He said the momentum against Gadhafi had reached a tipping point.

Obama also said the United States will continue to work with the international community to support a peaceful transition to democracy in Libya, and he urged the opposition TNC to include the interests of all the Libyan people.

South Africa denied reports that it had sent a plane to Libya to evacuate Gadhafi. Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Gadhafi has not and will not ask for asylum in South Africa.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague

The International Criminal Court at The Hague confirmed that the rebels have detained Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam. The world court was quick to remind the rebels that they have "an obligation to surrender Seif to the ICC."

The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Gadhafi, his son and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, all charged with crimes against humanity.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday was one of the rare voices to criticize the events in Libya. He condemned NATO's airstrikes in the country.  

Chavez has long been a staunch defender Gadhafi and has denounced the popular uprising, claiming it is an oil grab by Western powers.

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