The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has condemned the violence shown to reform movement protesters in Libya as reports have surfaced of embassy staff in London leaving their posts and jets from the Libyan armed forces diverting to Malta.
The NATO boss said:
I am shocked by the indiscriminate use of violence against peaceful protesters in Libya. I deplore the loss of life. I call on the Libyan authorities to stop the repression of unarmed civilians.
The people of Libya, like many others in the wider Middle East, have expressed a strong desire for democratic change. Their legitimate aspirations must be addressed. Freedom of expression and assembly are fundamental rights which cannot be denied.
As the Secretary General of an alliance of democracies, I strongly believe that democracy is the only solid basis for long-lasting stability. In the long run, no society can ignore the will of the people, because the desire for freedom resides in every human being.
Colonel Gaddafi has ruled the former kingdom since he came to power in a military coup fourteen years after independence from Italy. He recently signed a treaty with President Berlusconi in which he described the crimes of Italy against the African nation in great detail.
Libya is sparsely populated with only 6.4 million people and the majority of its GDP is derived from oil. ExxonMobil and Shell are among the companies operating in the huge desert state.