Here are some gleeful reactions from the West:
Barack Obama, US president:
Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Gadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.
“The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end.”A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.”
Downing Street statement:
“It is clear from the scenes we are witnessing in Tripoli that the end is near for Gaddafi.”He has committed appalling crimes against the people of Libya and he must go now to avoid any further suffering for his own people.”
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela:
“Today we are seeing images of the democratic governments of Europe, along with the supposedly democratic government of the United States destroying Tripoli with their bombs.
“Today they dropped I don’t know how many bombs, and they’re falling in a shameless and open way… on schools, hospitals, homes, work places, factories, farm fields at this very moment.
“They’re practically demolishing Tripoli with their bombs.” “Let’s pray to God for the Libyan people.”
Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister:
“Events are moving very, very quickly but it obviously appears that the rebels are in Tripoli, that the rebels are about to secure Libya overall.”Obviously the task is not yet done but from what we’ve seen on our TV screens that appears to be what will happen.”
“We continue to call on Colonel Gaddafi to get out of the way, and of course we believe that he should face the international charges that are against him.”
An editorial in the Australian newspaper has warned that there must not be a replay of the chaos seen in Baghdad in 2003.
“Gaddafi’s immoral charlatan supporters have painted lurid scenarios of inevitable bloodbath based on tribal rivalries and what they claim is the influence of al-Qaida,” it says.
“The challenge to the rebels’ National Transitional Council and Nato-led coalition supporting it is to prove Gaddafi wrong.”The paper says much now depends on the manner of Gaddafi’s exit from power.“It behoves the international community to bring him to account. An International Criminal Court arrest warrant is out and no country should let him escape it.
Libyans have suffered too long. The world must now help them recover.”
“Rebels in Tripoli, the regime falls,” is the online headline of Corriere della Sera in Italy. “Clashes close to Gaddafi’s bunker”, the paper says, reporting that the Libyan leader is still in the capital and may be hiding in the Venezuelan embassy. It says the rebels have agreed to a ceasefire if Gaddafi flees the country. Three of his sons have been detained by the rebels, Corriere says.
La Repubblica’s headline is a declaration from the rebels – “Tripoli is in our hands!” The paper quotes one of the heads of the Transitional National Council as saying “We control nearly all the city”. Three of Gaddafi’s sons have been captured, La Repubblica reports, while it quotes diplomatic sources as saying the Libyan leader is still in his bunker.
China’s official media, and many of its public, reacted sceptically to the scenes of jubilation from the rebels in Tripoli, questioning whether the rebels could ever bring stability to Libya and warning of a repeat of the chaos that followed Western military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An editorial in the English-language Global Times said there were “increasing worries about whether Libya could become the next Afghanistan”, and warned that “Internal ethnic conflict and extreme religious tendencies will not disappear with Gaddafi.” An online poll conducted by Global Times’s Chinese edition, which has a strongly nationalist readership, found that only 12 per cent of more than 3,000 people of those who replied to the survey thought Gaddafi’s fall would lead to “stability”.
China’s leaders also attracted some criticism on popular microblog platforms for sitting on the fence during the Libya dispute.
Having abstained on the UN resolution that allowed Nato to use force, China then called for a ceasefire accusing Nato of overstepping its mandate, before holding talks with both sides at several points during the conflict.
“China’s diplomatic policy too and fro’s like a pendulum, hoping to benefit from both sides,” said one microblogger, “Looking for Laputa”, “but in the end, China’s position appears merely to be passive.”
Jacob Zuma, the South African President, has previously enjoyed warm relations with Gaddafi and during the crisis travelled twice to Tripoli to negotiate with him.
But Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s Foreign Minister, said that Mr Zuma had had no contact with Gaddafi or his envoys, nor members of the National Transitional Council (NTC), in recent weeks. “We don’t know his whereabouts – we assume he is still in Libya,” she said.
She strongly refuted suggestions – sparked by the reported sighting of South African military aircraft at Tripoli Airport – that South Africa might offer Gaddafi asylum, saying the only plane South Africa had dispatched was to evacuate its embassy staff to Tunisia.
Asked whether South Africa would urge Col Gaddafi to hand himself over to the ICC, she said: “The Libyan people themselves need to decide what to do about the future of their country including the future of their leader. South Africa is a member of the ICC.”
She also rejected suggestions that the African Union’s attempts to resolve the crisis with its own “road map” had failed. “When the visitors leave, Africans will remain, dealing with an African problem … the rebuilding of a country in their own region,” she said. “That’s what makes the AU road map remain relevant, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
She said the South Africans would continue to speak to both sides, and encouraged the NTC to establish an interim government as soon as practicable, with a view to creating a new constitution and holding “the first ever democratic elections in Libya”.
“The political and socio-economic transformation of Libya holds real prospects of ushering in a new era based on the will of the people, in which Libya should take its rightful place in the community of nations,” she said.
Germany on Monday urged Col Gaddafi to step down as rebels overran the symbolic heart of the capital Tripoli, saying every hour he clings to power was “costing human lives”.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular press briefing that it was clear Libya had reached a “turning point”.
“Everything points to the fact that the end of the Gaddafi regime is within reach,” he said, adding that the veteran leader had lost “all legitimacy”.
“But the fighting apparently continues, blood continues to flow. That is why the German government firmly says that Colonel Gaddafi must give up. Every hour he senselessly clings to his rule, which no longer exists, is costing human lives and leading to further heavy destruction.”
He said Berlin was ready to help Libya’s process of “political, material and of course moral reconstruction”.
Germany in March abstained on a vote at the UN Security Council authorising a Libya mission to shield civilians and enforce a no-fly zone. It was the only European Union or Nato member to do so and provoked criticism from key allies.