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Is it nearly game over for Gaddafi?

By Tim Montgomerie
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BURT Foreign office minister Alistair Burt appeared on the BBC News Channel about an hour ago to comment on increasing speculation that Tripoli and Gaddafi might be about to fall to rebel forces.

Mr Burt said that NATO forces had made "significant" contributions overnight and had eliminated various communications capacities of the Gaddafi regime. They had also destroyed a tank that had been endangering civilians. He said there had always been an expectation that Tripoli would rise up against the regime when people in the city knew that help was close at hand. The recent victories of rebel forces and their proximity to the capital had increased the likelihood of such uprisings taking place.

The noose was tightening around the regime with the fall of Zawiya, in particular, which had been crucial to the supply of energy into Tripoli. Mr Burt also said that defections from the regime were continuing and supply routes from Tunisia were also being blocked off.

Mr Burt said he was not aware that the United Nations was conducting any negotiations with the Libyan dictator at the present time. Gaddafi did "not have a firm grip on reality", he said, and it was hard to have any sensible discussions with him. A stabilisation plan had been carefully prepared by rebel forces in the event of the regime collapsing and the international community would expect rebels to adhere to it.

[By way of footnote it was another solid media performance from Alistair Burt who has emerged as one of the most reassuring and accomplished communicators during recent months. I hope Downing Street has noticed.]


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