Libyan forces extended a deadline Thursday for forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi to surrender Sirte, which is still under their control. The deadline, which was originally Saturday, has been pushed back a week.
Libyan forces had told Gaddafi loyalists they must surrender Sirte or face a military assault on Saturday. They decided to allow one more week in the hopes of securing a negotiation, BBC reports. Tribal elders have been trying to reach an agreement and avoid a bloodshed.
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Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown and base of support, has been surrounded by anti-Gaddafi forces, who have also taken over most of the country and the capital, Tripoli.
Meanwhile, representatives from more than 60 countries gathered in Paris Thursday for a “Friends of Libya” summit to discuss the country's transition to democracy.
The meeting is being jointly hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, but his prominent son Seif al-Islam broadcast an audio message yesterday vowing to continue the fight and insisting that his father remains fine.
"We are going to die in our land," Seif al-Islam said in a broadcasted audio statement Wednesday. "No one is going to surrender."
Leaders of Libya's interim government say they are making progress in hunting down Gaddafi. They are also targeting the top officials in his regime and captured the foreign minister.
"The regime is dying," rebel council spokesman Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga said Wednesday, as reported by the Associated Press. "Gaddafi's family is trying to find an exit...They only have to surrender completely to the rebels and we will offer them a fair trial. We won't hold negotiations with them over anything."