Entries in Democratic Reforms (3)


Libyan Rebels: Gadhafi's Forces Using Cluster Bombs

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images(MISRATA, Libya) -- Rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi engaged in heavy fighting in the Libyan cities of Adjabiya, Brega and Misrata on Saturday.

In one battle in Misrata, rebels accused pro-government forces of using cluster bombs, devices banned in most countries because of their indiscriminate danger. The devices explode not with one blast, but rather several smaller explosions capable of widespread destruction.

Libyan authories deny the use of such weapons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Gadhafi Offers Major Changes, Provided He Stays in Power

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A representative for Col. Moammar Gadhafi said Monday that the Libyan government would be willing to hold elections and enact democratic reforms, with one catch: Gadhafi would have to remain in power indefinitely.

With forces loyal to the Libyan leader battling rebel fighters for control of the country, spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claimed Gadhafi has “symbolic significance” and that his fate should be in the hands of the Libyan people.

However, opposition forces have adamantly stated that Gadhafi must step down immediately before negotiations can begin.  That’s also the stance of Western powers, who continue to pound Gadhafi’s positions on the ground, helping rebels to keep their hold on the oil-rich city of Brega.

Gadhafi has sent an envoy to various European capitals to try and convince leaders to accept Libya’s offer for an “international dialogue” to resolve the crisis.  So far, there’s been no rush to accept the ceasefire offer.

Still, British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged that “at some stage, there will have to be a genuine ceasefire, then the political process can begin.”

In other developments, The New York Times reported a plan by two of Gadhafi's sons that would involve their father stepping down while son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi oversees a democratic transition.  That offer was termed unacceptable by opposition leaders.

With the U.S. handing most military missions to NATO, coalition officials are still trying to decide whether to arm the rebels.  Concerning that option, former President Bill Clinton told on ABC News Monday, “I might need to know a little more; I would be inclined to do it.”

He quickly added he was speaking for himself and not the Obama administration, for which his wife, Hillary Clinton, is secretary of state.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In Moscow, VP Biden Pushes for Democratic Reforms, Russia's WTO Bid

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- In the signature event of his five-day trip abroad, Vice President Biden called for Russia to make further progress on democratic reforms and reiterated the Obama administration’s support for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization, citing the opportunity for strong commercial ties between the two nations.

“The next frontier in our relationship,” Biden said, “will be building stronger ties of trade and commerce that match the security cooperation we have accomplished over the last two years and hopefully will continue to grow.”

Noting several times that the U.S.-Russia relationship had improved, Biden delivered some chiding words for Russia’s leadership, which he said he could do without jeopardizing ties between the two nations.

“We will continue to object when we think human rights are violated or democracy and the rule of law is undermined,” he said.

The vice president specifically mentioned the cases of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was arrested after accusing police of fraud and died in prison before being tried, and oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsy, imprisoned since 2003 amid charges of misconduct in his trial.

The vice president, in a subtle nod to what is happening across the Middle East, said that this was not just the United States asking for more from Russia, but also the Russian people who “now call on their country to strengthen their democratic institutions.”

In a speech that was very lengthy even by Biden’s standards, the vice president touched on a wide range of issues: the U.S.-Russian relationship and the “reset” the Obama administration deemed a key part of its foreign policy agenda in 2009; nuclear proliferation; Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan; and economic cooperation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio