Libyan leaders in second day of interim government talks

National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil speaks to the press in Benghazi on September 24, 2011.

Story highlights

  • The National Transitional Council is meeting for a second day
  • The formation of a government could take up to a week, officials say
  • The situation in the town of Sirte is unchanged, a spokesman says
Members of Libya's new leadership met Monday in the town of Benghazi for a second day to discuss forming an interim government.
It's likely members will agree to continue calling the current government an "executive office," said Abdulrazag Elaradi, a senior member of the National Transitional Council. Members previously agreed the government should include a premier, a vice premier and 22 ministers.
But the announcement of the new government's creation should be contingent on wresting control of all cities from forces loyal to ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi, he said, echoing previous comments made by NTC members.
The meetings began Sunday and will last until Tuesday. The formation of a government could take up to a week, members have said.
The council said it will expand as cities are liberated to ensure representation in all regions of the country.
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Meanwhile, the situation in the town of Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown, was unchanged, the NTC said. On Saturday, the transitional government announced it had advanced into Sirte following 24 hours of NATO aerial bombardments.
"Among the reports emerging from Sirte are executions, hostage-taking, and the calculated targeting of individuals, families, and communities within the city," NATO has said. The organization has also pointed to mercenaries being involved on the pro-Gadhafi side and civilians denied access to food, water and medical care.
Clashes took place Sunday in a number of areas in western Sirte, the NTC said. Fighters were killed and wounded on both sides, but Col. Ahmed Bani, an NTC military spokesman, did not provide numbers.
NTC fighters were still controlling the positions they gained last week in eastern Sirte, Bani said. But the battle is difficult, because Gadhafi loyalists are utilizing snipers and advanced weapons including machine guns.
And NTC fighters entered eastern Bani Walid, another loyalist stronghold, a few days ago after a fierce battle, he said. Gadhafi loyalists are controlling the mountain in the northern part of the city, Bani said, and the fighting is expected to take longer because of the town's difficult topography.
However, Bani Walid was completely surrounded by NTC fighters, he said, with no one able to enter or leave. Many mercenaries are fighting in Bani Walid, along with many Gadhafi fighters who fled Tripoli.