06/09/2011, 00.00
LIBYA

Mgr Martinelli calls for diplomatic steps, says he is not hiding Gaddafi in church

The Libya Contact Group is meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss the country’s post-Gaddafi future. For the apostolic vicar to Tripoli, the West’s inflexibility vis-à-vis its Libyan counterpart could prolong the war beyond the three months anticipated by NATO.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – Mgr Giovanni Martinelli, apostolic vicar to Tripoli, said he was saddened by the ways the media was covering the war against Gaddafi. Speaking about the Italian press, the prelate denied claims that appeared in some papers that he was hiding the Libyan strongman inside the vicariate. “These people have no respect even for a place of worship like a church,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Libya Contact Group met for the third time in Abu Dhabi. The foreign ministers of Italy, Great Britain, France as well as US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and representatives of the Arab League discussed ways to fund the rebel-led National Transitional Council as well as what to do after the removal of Gaddafi, who, for the time being, is not planning to accommodate them.

“I have said several times that a diplomatic approach is needed to end this war,” Mgr Martinelli said, “but no one wants to try” this path. “The various diplomats who have travelled to Tripoli have not solved anything or have not been heeded. The West prefers to hit with weapons.”

The bishop said that such an approach could prolong the war beyond the three months anticipated by NATO. This will have serious consequences for the population, which continues to suffer from air strikes.

In recent raids, NATO has dropped 80 bombs and missiles. According to the Libyan press, about 70 people have been wounded, a claim that is impossible to verify.

“Today the situation is calm but on Monday air strikes were intense,” Mgr Martinelli said. “Bombs were dropped around the city and against Gaddafi’s bunker for 24 hours. They did give us any let-up; it felt like the world was going to collapse.” (S.C.)

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