Libyan rebels ask for weapons, says Italy

April 13th, 2011 - 7:21 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, April 13 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Libyan rebels have asked NATO to supply them with weaponry as the prospects for a rebel military victory over Muammar Gaddafi’s forces are fading away, said the Italian foreign ministry.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini met in Rome Tuesday with envoys from Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council (TNC).

The ministry’s spokesman Maurizio Massari told reporters, following the meeting, that the Libyan rebels reiterated their request to gain access to Libya’s overseas financial assets frozen by a UN resolution and demanded that NATO intensify its military operations in Libya.

Despite dozens of sorties carried out by NATO aircraft against Gaddafi’s forces, the government troops maintain their combat capability and continue to pound the poorly-equipped rebels with heavy artillery and rocket fire.

France and Britain acknowledged Tuesday that the allies should intensify their efforts to cripple Gaddafi’s war machine.

Rebels in Libya have been fighting forces loyal to longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi since mid-February.

A NATO-led operation is enforcing a no-fly zone over the country to prevent Gaddafi loyalists from attacking civilians.

Gaddafi has accepted an African Union road map to end the civil war in the north African country, but rebels says they will not back down on their demand that Gaddafi must go.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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