JOHANNESBURG – Libya's ambassador to South Africa on Monday urged leader Moammar Gadhafi to resign, joining other foreign envoys around the world in rejecting his regime.
Abdalla Alzubedi told journalists that he and others at the mission in Pretoria, South Africa had considered resigning, but they decided that would leave the people of Libya without representation at a time of crisis.
"I would like for him to resign because it is in the interest of the people for him to resign," Alzubedi said.
The ambassador said he knew Gadhafi, and did not believe the longtime leader would accept calls for him to quit.
"He will not step down easily," Alzubedi said, adding that he feared that will mean escalating fighting.
Gadhafi has launched by far the bloodiest crackdown in a wave of anti-government uprisings sweeping the Arab world, the most serious challenge to his four decades in power. The United States, Britain and the U.N. Security Council all slapped sanctions on Libya this weekend.
Over the weekend, the three African nations on the Security Council — Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa — joined the others on the main U.N. decision-making body in unanimously voting for sanctions against Gadhafi.
South Africa said that with its vote, it was sending "a clear and unambiguous message to the Libyan authorities to end the carnage against its people."
Gadhafi has spent his country's oil wealth liberally on aid and development projects across the African continent. But he is also seen as a meddler who inflamed wars and contributed to instability in other African countries.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects spelling of ambassador's name to Abdalla instead of Abdallah, edits to trim.)