06/23/2011, 00.00
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The people of Tripoli fear bombs as Gaddafi says no to dialogue

“Bomb-phobia” is spreading across the capital, Mgr Martinelli says. People living near possible NATO targets are fleeing. Italy backs away from calling for a ceasefire.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – “Now that NATO admitted that it caused civilian deaths, the population of Tripoli is afraid of bombs. People who live near possible military targets are fleeing to other parts of the city,” Mgr Giovanni Martinelli, apostolic vicar to the Libyan capital, told AsiaNews. “People have developed a bomb-phobia.”

“People want an end to this war,” the prelate said. “In last few days, many asked me to write to NATO to find a solution that didn’t include bombing.” Without a diplomatic solution, the war could continue for several months, Mgr Martinelli added.

However, despite recent overtures, the possibility of dialogue between the Libyan regime, NATO and rebels is fast evaporating.

Last night, taking advantage of civilians killed by NATO, Gaddafi reiterated his refusal to leave power and said, “There's no longer any agreement after you killed our children”.

The danger that the Libyan regime might reject any diplomatic overture and the rising hostility caused by NATO mistakes have pushed some alliance members to have second thoughts about the approach used so far against the Libyan strongman.

Yesterday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini had called for a ceasefire and a humanitarian corridor to help the population of the besieged city.

Despite his call for ceasefire, Frattini immediately reiterated Italy’s commitment to putting pressures on Gaddafi to counter French and British criticism.

In Great Britain, divisions are emerging over the cost of the mission, now standing at £ 250 million (€ 280 million, US$ 400 million).

Meanwhile, despite harsh criticism against the mission in Libya, even China has given up on Gaddafi and has recognised Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) as the sole representative of the Libyan people. (S.C.)
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