Factbox: Reaction to Gaddafi's speech

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:26pm EST

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(Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared on state television on Tuesday to denounce a popular uprising against his 41-year rule.

Following are edited highlights of reaction to his comments.

GENERAL SOLIMAN MAHMOUD AL-OBEID, INTERVIEWED IN TOBRUK

Soliman said he no longer stood with Gaddafi after hearing of orders to kill civilians in Benghazi, where he estimated 300 people had died.

"With respect to Gaddafi's speech, all of it was untrue. Gaddafi has not been trustworthy ... He bombs with airplanes and uses excessive force against unarmed people."

"I am sure he will fall in the coming few days."

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

"The news we've had from Libya yesterday and today is worrying and the speech by Colonel Gaddafi this afternoon was very, very frightening, especially because he virtually declared war on his own people."

"We urge the Libyan government to halt immediately the use of violence against its own people, and if the use of violence does not cease then Germany will exhaust every possibility to exert pressure and influence on Libya."

MAAJID NAWAZ, DIRECTOR, BRITISH THINK TANK QUILLIAM

"Gaddafi's speech perfectly illustrates why this man is unfit to run a country. Gaddafi and his family are willing to destroy the entire Libyan nation in order to cling onto power. A man who threatens his own country with civil war forfeits the right to rule. It is time for him to go. The international community should stand up for Libya's democrats and work with them to bring the era of Gaddafi to an end.

The West should not fall for Gaddafi's predictions that al-Qaeda will take over Libya if his regime falls. The West should recognize such bluster for what it is. While Islamist terrorism emanating from the Middle East is a real danger to us all, the threat from al-Qaeda cannot be used to justify propping up tyrants and despots across the Middle East. Rather than preventing terrorism, the propping up of dictators like Gaddafi has helped to create modern Islamist terrorism."

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