July 18 (Reuters) - Following are the latest political and military developments in the Libyan crisis.
* Rebel forces have routed most of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s troops in the oil town of Brega in the biggest boost for the insurgents’ military campaign in eastern Libya in weeks, a rebel spokesman said on Monday. He said they would have to clear landmines littering the streets before they can take full control of the town.
* The leaders of South Africa and Britain disagreed on Monday over how to proceed in Libya, South African President Jacob Zuma saying he wanted to see negotiations aimed at ending the five-month-old rebellion.
* Russia criticised on Monday the United States and other countries that have recognised the rebel National Transitional Council as Libya’s legitimate government, saying they were taking sides in the civil war.
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday nations that recognised the rebel National Transition Council were pursuing a “policy of isolation” he suggested could undermine efforts to end the five-month war.
* Britain blocked a proposal to establish a permanent headquarters for European Union defence and security operations on Monday, saying it would duplicate NATO structures and be an unnecessary expense. France supported the headquarters, but French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said France was willing to examine other proposals because the Libya operation shows the need to improve European defence capabilities.
* NATO said it conducted 122 air sorties on Sunday, 46 of them strike sorties that aim to identify and hit targets but do not always deploy munitions.
* NATO said key targets hit on Sunday included:
— Nine armed vehicles, two armoured fighting vehicles and one command and control node near Brega;
— One radar and one military storage facility near Tripoli;
— One military storage facility near Waddan;
— One road block near Zlitan.
* Since NATO took over command of air strikes on March 31, its aircraft have conducted 15,540 sorties, including 5,858 strike sorties. NATO members participating in air strikes in Libya include France, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Italy and the United States.
* Seventeen ships under NATO command are patrolling the central Mediterranean Sea to enforce a U.N. arms embargo. On Sunday, 15 vessels were hailed to determine destination and cargo. Two were boarded but they were not diverted.
A total of 1,802 vessels have been hailed, 175 boarded and nine diverted since the start of the arms embargo. (Reporting by Alysha Love; Editing by Maria Golovnina)