Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said confrontation between the authorities and the rebellious opposition would end very soon and therefore there is no need to storm Benghazi.
Since clashes between supporters of Gaddafi and the opposition began in mid-February, Benghazi has become the mainstay of the rebels, who control the east of the country.
"The Benghazi residents can deal with the rebels themselves, which is why there is no need to use force," Gaddafi said in an interview with the Arabic-language Russia Today television channel.
Government forces have been brutally quashing the uprising, including with aerial bombings of the eastern territories. In past few days, the rebellious cities of Ras Al Anouf and Marsa El Brega have surrendered in the face of the military campaign. Gaddafi's forces have come close to Benghazi, the second largest city in the country, where the opposition's transitional National Council sits.
On Wednesday, Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, said in an interview with Euronews TV channel, that "it will all be over within 48 hours."
MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti)