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FM: Gadhafi's forces to regain rebel-held territories soon

Muammar Gadhafi's forces pushed toward the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi on Wednesday, and his government predicted victory within days while world powers debated imposing a no-fly zone to help stop him, Reuters reported.    

A senior Libyan foreign ministry official said the government hoped to regain control over all rebel-held territories soon, according to Reuters.  

"We hope (it will be done) as soon as possible. I hope it will be in a matter of days," Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said.

Supporters of a no-fly zone to halt Libyan government air strikes on rebels circulated a draft resolution at the UN Security Council on Tuesday that would authorize one, but other states said questions remained.

The draft was distributed at a closed-door meeting by the United Kingdom and Lebanon after the Arab League called on the council on Saturday to set up a no-fly zone as Gadhafi's troops advanced against the rebels in the east.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig said after the meeting his country still had queries.

"We raised questions we felt are still not fully answered, as to the Arab participation in such a measure, as to whether the implementation of such a zone would run counter to the intention of the Arab League itself, the Arab League having pointed out that there should be no foreign intervention," Wittig said.

Veto powers Russia, China and the United States, along with Portugal, Germany and South Africa are among the members that have doubts about the wisdom of a no-fly zone for Libya.

In a televised speech, Gadhafi taunted Western countries that have backed the imposition of a no-fly zone to come and get him.

"France now raises its head and says that it will strike Libya," he told a gathering of supporters at his Bab al-Azizia fortified compound in central Tripoli.

"Strike Libya?" he asked. "We'll be the one who strikes you! We struck you in Algeria, in Vietnam. You want to strike us? Come and give it a try."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called on Wednesday for the use of military options to help Libyan rebels end the 42-year rule of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

France's top diplomat stressed in a note posted on his blog (www.al1jup.com) the need for concrete moves to stop the advance of troops loyal to Gaddafi.

"It is not enough to proclaim as almost all the major democracies did that 'Gaddafi must go.' We must give ourselves the means to effectively help those who took up arms against his dictatorship," Juppe said.

He believed that emergency measures must be taken as judicial and financial sanctions imposed by the UN and EU could only produce results months later.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's office is denying a claim by Moammar Gadhafi's son that the French leader received funding from Libya for his election campaign.

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi has told Lyon, France-based EuroNews television that "we have all the details and we are ready to reveal everything" about his country's financing of Sarkozy's campaign in 2007.

Gadhafi made the comments when he asked about his opinion of Sarkozy, who has led the diplomatic push for tough action against the Libyan regime in its battle against rebel fighters.