07/01/2011, 00.00
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Del Boca: French weapons for rebels will not solve Libyan stalemate

Russia and the African Union criticize Paris for the supply of arms to opposition to Gaddafi. NATO bombing continues; scarce drugs and supplies in hospitals in Benghazi. Nasser's daughter speaks of negotiations. Expert in Libya an accord could be reached if both parties are left free of current "foreign interference".
Rome (AsiaNews) - France’s supply of weapons to the Libyan rebels is "not surprising" but for the moment "it will not change the situation of the ground" because it is only machine guns and other light weapons. In Libya there is "a stalemate that continues," aggravated by too much "foreign interference" with respect to the two warring sides. So says Angelo Del Boca, journalist and university professor, researcher for over 30 years of Libyan history and its leader Muammar Gaddafi speaking exclusively to AsiaNews.

In recent days, the French newspaper Le Figaro revealed that the Paris government provides weapons to the Cyrenaica insurgents to attack the Tripoli militia loyal to Gaddafi. However, getting military aid to the opponents is a time consuming phenomenon, via third countries such as Qatar and other Gulf states. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Libya is getting worse: the NATO bombing campaign continues to aim for sensitive targets, while in the Benghazi area hospitals are facing a shortage of medicines and medical equipment.

Regarding the weapons supplied to the rebels, Professor Del Boca says that "it is not surprising it was already known." The agreement was reached recently, during a mission to Paris by a representative of the Libyan rebels. "I know the weight of these weapons - continues the historian – and they will make no difference in the conflict." He adds that "for months" the rebels were ready to attack Tripoli, but "not strong enough to do so" and "a few more weapons does not change the situation on the ground, because they can not parachute in tanks."

The African Union and Russia has criticized the Paris decision to supply weapons to rebels in. An understandable position, says prof. Del Boca, because "according to the UN dictates, in case of civil war the duty is to defend the population" but not to take sides in favor of a party: "France – he highlights – has deviated from the path traced out by the United Nations mandate." According to the expert on Libyan affairs, the country is suffering "a stalemate that continues."

In these hours negotiations between Gaddafi and the rebels are reportedly ongoing, as reported by the only daughter of the Rais. In an interview on French television, Aisha confirmed that her father did not leave the country, but there is a willingness to "put an end to the bloodshed." "I think if they let do both sides be, then they may find a solution - concludes Professor Del Boca -, but there is too much outside interference." (DS)
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