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 The BBC's Jeremy Bowen meets rebels near Tripoli

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PostSubject: The BBC's Jeremy Bowen meets rebels near Tripoli   Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:11 am

The rebels believe the approaches are merely an attempt to divide the Gaddafi opponents.

There seems to be a division within the council, says the BBC's Mustafa Menhshawi in Benghazi, with some saying talks are under way between Col Gaddafi and rebel leaders to secure his departure from the country, while others deny any negotiations are being held.

The confusion within the rebel leadership is obvious, adds our correspondent, suggesting the council is not fully linked to rebel forces on the ground.
No-fly discussions

Western powers are stepping up their efforts to put in place a no-fly zone over Libya.

Britain and France are drafting a UN resolution, which will be debated by Nato defence ministers on Thursday.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which represents Muslim countries, has joined the calls for a no-fly zone. Gulf Arab states gave their backing to the idea, condemning the use of violence against civilians by Libyan government forces and calling for an urgent meeting of the Arab League.

An Arab League official said the group's foreign ministers would meet on Saturday in Cairo to discuss the Libya crisis, Reuters reported.

A no-fly zone would probably ban military flights by government forces through Libyan airspace. Any aircraft violating the exclusion zone would risk being shot down by international forces.
Map of Libya

No-fly zones were imposed on southern and northern Iraq in the wake of the first Gulf war in 1991, and during the war in Bosnia in 1994-95.

However, our correspondent in Tripoli cautions that any foreign intervention would have to be carefully calculated, as it risks playing into Col Gaddafi's hands.

The UN says more than 1,000 people have died and 200,000 have fled the violence in Libya, which is now in its third week.

Anti-Gaddafi rebels control most of the east of the country, centred around the city of Benghazi. However, the government has consolidated its hold on western areas and the capital, Tripoli, which is home to about a third of the population of 6.5 million.

The revolt against Col Gaddafi's 41-year rule is now well into its third week.

It comes in the wake of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, whose presidents were forced from power after mass street demonstrations.

Anti-government protests have also taken place in Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria and Jordan.
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