Libya
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Tripoli Freezes Ties with Paris, Sarkozy Promises EU-AU-Arab League Summit on Libya

Libya decided on Friday to "suspend" diplomatic relations with France, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim said at a press conference.

The Libyan government has slammed what it called France's "illegal" decision on Thursday to recognize Libya's rebels and warned that the move could lead to a break in relations.

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Libyan Rebels Battle to Retake Oil Town of Ras Lanuf

Libyan rebels battled troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi outside Ras Lanuf on Friday, finding themselves on the back foot and outgunned a day after the regime recaptured the key oil town.

As the two sides exchanged rocket and shell fire east of town, fighter jets screeched over rebel positions on bombing runs, hitting a building used as a checkpoint and setting ablaze an oil storage tank at a nearby refinery.

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Britain, France Ramp Up Pressure at EU Crisis Summit on Libya

Western powers ramped up pressure on Moammar Gadhafi Friday, with France calling for targeted strikes if he bombs his people, as a crisis summit exposed an EU rift over how to force the Libyan leader out.

The pivotal summit, capping 48 hours of talks also involving NATO defense ministers and European Union foreign ministers, opened with the 27-nation bloc divided over military action as well as a British-French push for formal recognition of Gadhafi's opponents.

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Gadhafi Threatens to 'Stop Support for Anti-Terror War'

Libyan embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi threatened Europe on Friday with the withdrawal of Libyan support for the international war on terror and to prevent illegal migration, the official Jana news agency reported.

If "Europe does not support, and ignores, the active role of Libya in the fight against migration and as guarantor of stability in North Africa and all of Africa, Libya will be obliged ... to withdraw its efforts in the battle against terrorism and completely change its stance toward al-Qaida," said a message Jana reported was signed by Gadhafi.

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Berri Demands Immediate Arab Governmental Recognition of Libyan National Council

House Speaker Nabih Berri demanded on Friday an immediate recognition by all Arab governments of the Libyan rebel National Council.

He said in a letter to the head of the Arab Inter-parliamentary Union Mohammed bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi: “Immediate calls should be made to all Arab governments for the immediate recognition of the council which represents the popular revolution and the people’s resistance to the barbarism of the Gadhafi regime.”

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Libyan Regime Plans to Cut Ties with Paris over Recognizing Rebels

Libya is planning to cut its diplomatic relations with France after French President Nicolas Sarkozy recognized rebels opposed to Moammar Gadhafi, the official Jana news agency reported Thursday.

The Tripoli government would "consider severing ties with France after information about the dangerous intervention in Libyan affairs," a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by Jana.

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Rebels Retreat as Gadhafi Shells Rain Down on Ras Lanuf

Relentless pounding by Moammar Gadhafi's forces sent rebels fleeing a key oil hub Thursday, and a town near Tripoli was recaptured, as the Red Cross warned of escalating conflict in Libya that it termed a civil war.

As loyalists appeared to have wrested back the initiative on the battlefield, a source close to Nicolas Sarkozy said the French president will propose "targeted air strikes" in Libya.

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France, Germany Urge EU to Talk with Libyan Opposition

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Thursday said Paris and Berlin were calling on their European Union partners to engage in dialogue with Libyan opposition leaders.

Speaking after talks with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Juppe said, "We are on the same track to say Colonel Gadhafi is discredited, he must go, we must engage dialogue with the new Libyan representatives."

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Gadhafi Sends Letter to Arab League, Envoys to Europe, Rebels to Send Envoys to Paris

Nicolas Sarkozy will on Thursday meet envoys of Libya's rebel national council which is fighting to oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi, the French president's office said.

Sarkozy would meet Mahmoud Jibril and Ali Essaoui to discuss the "general situation in Libya, in particular the humanitarian situation and the actions of the national council," a statement said.

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Riyadh Says Decision on Libya Fly Ban Up to Arab League

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday that a decision to support imposing a no-fly zone over Libya was up to the Arab League, not only Gulf countries.

"It is an issue that is the responsibility of the Arab League," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a press conference in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

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