UPDATE 1-Gaddafi speech very frightening, says Merkel

Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:18pm GMT
 

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BERLIN Feb 22 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's speech on Tuesday, in which he vowed to cling to power, as very frightening and said he had virtually declared war on his own people.

Merkel told a news conference she would support eventual sanctions against Libya if Gaddafi failed to stop the violence.

"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," said the German chancellor.

Gaddafi vowed to stay on and "die here as a martyr" despite calls from some Libyan diplomats, soldiers and protesters to end his four decades in power. [ID:nL3E7DM0K1]

"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," she said.

If the Libyan government did not desist, she said, "we would then speak in favour of sanctions against Libya". (Reporting by Stephen Brown and Andreas Rinke; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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