Libya questions Arab summit amid violence

TRIPOLI, Libya, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Libya worries unrest in the Middle East will create problems for an Arab summit next month as dozens were reported dead in anti-government protests in Tripoli.

Libya, which holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, suggested postponing next month's Arab League summit in Iraq because of ongoing political turmoil in the Middle East, the official Jana news agency reports.


The concerns come as unrest at home claimed the lives of at least 24 protesters demanding Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi step down after four decades in power.

Peaceful demonstrations in Egypt brought down the government of Hosni Mubarak, who took office in 1981. Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, reportedly in ill health, fled to Saudi Arabia last month, ending a tenure that lasted more than 20 years.

Unrest in Tripoli is the worst reported in the country since Gadhafi took power more than 40 years ago. Soldiers tried to break up protests with military forces using live ammunition on demonstrators, London's Daily Mail reports.

The media in Libya is tightly controlled but amateur photographs showing graphic images of alleged Libyan casualties are showing up on Internet social networking sites. Online media outlets close to the Gadhafi family, the Daily Mail adds, said the country's national congress was considering personnel shake-ups and modest government reforms.


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