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Key Libyan Government Officials Resign, Flee the Country
March 31, 2011

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Both sides of Libya's civil war continued to trade bullets and positions, even as key members of the government resigned and fled the country.

Libya's foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, has resigned and traveled to the United Kingdom, to protest Co. Moammar Gadhafi's treatment of his own people. Koussa had been given permission to go to neighboring Tunisia but had taken that opportunity to go farther afield. A former foreign minister, Ali Abdessalam Treki, refused to accept a post representing Libya at the United Nations and effectively resigned as well.

Abdelilah Al-Khatib, a special envoy assigned by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, arrived in Tripoli for talks with government officials. He said would also talk with rebel leaders.

The situation on the ground was as variable as ever, with Gadhafi's forces gaining the upper hand again, seizing much of the territory claimed by rebels when NATO airstrikes began about two weeks ago. The key oil towns of Brega and Aidabiya were on fire, literally, as both sides exchanged gunfire. Gadhafi's forces were no nearer Benghazi, the capital of rebel-held territory; and rebels were no nearer a takeover of Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown. The fierce battle for Misrata, a key western town seized by rebels a few weeks ago, continued.

The U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized the no-fly zone makes no mention of ground troops or of other countries' sending arms to Libyan rebels. So far, no other country has sent troops to either side of the civil war. High-level representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom, however, have been exploring the legality of doing so under the current resolution. U.S. officials confirmed that a small number of CIA employees were already on the ground in rebel-held territory.



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