Deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi is out with a defiant new message just hours before President Obama is set to meet with leaders of Libya’s transitional government in New York City.
“What is happening in Libya is a charade which can only take place thanks to the [NATO-led] air raids, which will not last forever,” Qadhafi said, according to numerous reports.
Obama will meet one-on-one with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council, on Tuesday at the United Nations - a step that will boost the transitional government’s profile and legitimacy.
The NTC, which now has a seat at the world body, is expected to outline its plans for setting up a new Libyan government later Tuesday.
But Qadhafi would not allow the moment to pass without trying to steal some of the thunder. “The political system in Libya is a system based on the power of the people … and it is impossible that this system be removed,” said Qadhafi in message first broadcast by a Syrian television station.
The former Libyan leader will be absent from the United Nations gathering in New York City, an event at which he had previously been a perennial attendee - and oddity. At the United Nations, Qadhafi had been known for rambling speeches and his penchant for staying in a large tent.
Qadhafi is said to be hiding somewhere in Libya, and has not been seen since rebels seized the Libyan capital of Tripoli last month. Efforts to root out Qadhafi loyalists near his hometown of Sirte have so far been unsuccessful.
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