“Starting a dialogue is the best thing to do,” said Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, apostolic vicar of Tripoli. “NATO’s bombs are doing no good and we must take into consideration all parties to the conflict, not only the rebels,” he explained.
For the prelate, the civilian population wants peace, not war, and Libyan authorities are prepared at this moment for signs of openness; this is a chance for the parties to talk to end the hostilities.
Mgr Martinelli urges the members of the Contact group to consider the possibility of a transitional government with members from the existing regime to avoid hatred and suspicions in the population.
“It is obvious that Gaddafi will not give up power but I think that he is willing to take a step back and leave his post to a family member,” the prelate said.
The Libya Contact group is discussing humanitarian aid and money to rebels in Cyrenaica, whose leaders have appealed for up to US$ 3 billion to pay for the war and their new administration.
“Everyone is talking about helping the rebels. Newspapers are talking about the dramatic humanitarian situation in Cyrenaica, but no one is saying a word about the people of Tripoli and other parts of the country that need aid, especially hospitals, which lack personnel and drugs,” said Mgr Martinelli.
“Unfortunately, the government is reticent about asking for humanitarian aid. It does not want to give in, for obvious reasons, but I am trying to get them to allow a group of Doctors without Borders into the country,” the clergyman explained.
According to the apostolic vicar, sending aid to the other side in the war could reduce tensions and hatred and allow for direct contacts with Tripoli, which still controls most of the country. The prelate warns in fact that funding only the rebels could fuel an atmosphere of anarchy and hatred.
“I am getting worrying news from the Benghazi area. Two of my fellow brothers were attacked by two people who stole their car,” Mgr Martinelli said.
In rebel-held areas, “Everything appears to be out of control”, he added. “Anarchy is spreading with thugs freely roaming the streets.”
“Despite the difficulties, the situation in Tripoli is better and many are afraid of what might happen after Gaddafi leaves.” (S.C.)