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Muammar Gaddafi tells a Turkish television reporter a no-fly zone would show that the west wants to take control of Libya. Photograph: Str/Reuters

Gaddafi threatens armed resistance against no-fly zone

Imposition of no-fly zone zone in Libyan airspace ‘would prove west was trying to steal its oil’

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has warned that the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace will be met with armed resistance and taken as proof that western powers are trying to steal his country’s oil.

His defiant remarks came as pro-Gaddafi forces continued their assault on the city of Zawiyah and the country’s rebel leadership pleaded for the international community to close down Libyan airspace.

Britain and the US have discussed the creation of an internationally backed no-fly zone as a contingency plan in case Gaddafi refuses to step down in response to the popular uprising that erupted last month.

In an interview broadcast on Wednesday by Turkey’s state-run TRT news channel, Gaddafi said: “If they take such a decision it will be useful for Libya, because the Libyan people will see the truth, that what they want is to take control of Libya and to steal their oil.

“They want to take your petrol,” he said. “This is what America, this is what the French, those colonialists, want.” But he warned: “The Libyan people will take up arms against them.”

Barack Obama and David Cameron have agreed “to press forward with planning, including at Nato, on the full spectrum of possible responses, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, enforcement of the arms embargo, and a no-fly zone”.

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