3 Sep 2011

Gaddafi surrender deadline extended

1:45 pm on 3 September 2011

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in his home town of Sirte in Libya have been given an extra week to surrender.

The National Transitional Council had previously said they must surrender by Saturday or face a full military assault. The deadline is now 10 September.

The announcement was made before the start of a summit on Libya in Paris, hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain.

The National Transitional Council was seeking help on security and reconstruction, and advice on a future transition to democracy.

Leaders from 63 countries attended. Russia, China and Algeria were among those that agreed to extend their backing to the new government.

Mr Sarkozy said afterwards all the countries at the conference are committed to unfreezing the assets they hold from the Gaddafi regime.

He said about $US15 billion had already been unfrozen worldwide.

Meanwhile, the European Union has lifted sanctions against 28 Libyan companies. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says the aim is to support the interim government and get the economy functioning again.

Coup anniversary

The meeting is being held on the anniversary of Colonel Gaddafi's emergence as the leader of a coup that overthrew King Idris in 1969.

The colonel has not been seen in public for months. On Thursday, he called on his supporters to set Libya alight, vowing that his backers will not give up.

Arab news channels report that he says those against him are divided.

Colonel Gaddafi called for a long fight.

''If Libya goes up in flames, who will be able to govern it? Let it burn,'' he said.

''They don't want to rule Libya. They cannot rule it as long as we are armed.

''We are still armed. We will fight in every valley, in every street, in every oasis, and every town."

He added: ''How can we give ourselves up again? Are we women surrendering ourselves to our husbands or what?''