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    » 08/23/2011, 00.00

    LIBYA

    Tripoli bishop still hoping for reconciliation

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Mgr Giovanni Martinelli expects strong resistance against the rebels. Dialogue is necessary for peace, even if it should come at the last moment. Boasting of bombing the civilian population for six months is horrible. Hundreds of Filipino women and a priest thought of fleeing by sea but were prevented by the prevailing insecurity and gunfire across the city. Tripoli’s main Catholic church is also closed because of security concerns.
    Rome (AsiaNews) – Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli says he might be crazy but he is still convinced that reconciliation between Gaddafi and the rebels is possible “to bring peace to the country”. Otherwise, “there is no other solution. NATO air strikes are not a solution. Boasting of bombing the civilian population for six months is horrible.”

    The bishop of Tripoli is sceptical about the possibility that rebels might take over the city. “Everything is confused but I don’t think Tripoli is in the hands of the rebels. Seif al Islam’s appearance, his self-assurance and enthusiasm, mean that rebels have taken over little or nothing.”

    Yesterday, rebels announced that they had entered Tripoli amid festive crowds and that Seif al Islam had been arrested and charged before the International Criminal Court. Claims that two more of Gaddafi’s sons had been arrested had also been made. However, today a defiant Seif led a group of journalists to an area under the control of Gaddafi’s troops. Other reports indicate gunfights in other parts of the city.

    “I think that a rebel victory in Tripoli will be difficult. They’ll meet strong resistance,” the bishop said.

    Speaking about the situation of Christians, “they are afraid of air strikes,” Mgr Martinelli said.

    A few days ago, their evacuation was still thought possible, but the level of insecurity is such now that it is impossible to walk the streets because of constant shooting.

    A group of Filipino women and a priest thought to escape by sea with the help of the Philippines Embassy, but it all came to nought. “Christians can only wait now,” the prelate said.

    Because of the lack of security, Tripoli’s Catholic church has been closed and no service has been performed in days.

    “I am not losing hope,” the bishop said. “I think that reconciliation is still possible, perhaps at the last moment, to bring peace to the country. Bombs will not solve problems. I hope they can find ways to talk to each other.”
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    See also

    09/06/2011 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.

    11/05/2011 LIBYA
    Bishop of Tripoli: Bombs on civilians, destroying an entire people to take down Gaddafi
    At night, the NATO bombing hit civilian buildings. Four children were injured. For Mgr. Martinelli, the UN must bring peace not war. Italy's grave responsibility in the operation of fury against the Libyan population.

    12/05/2011 LIBYA
    Air raids turn Tripoli into ghost town. Bishop: "give these people a rest"
    NATO continues to bomb despite the UN's appeal for a ceasefire. At least four missiles fired at the Gaddafi bunker. For Msgr. Martinelli the population is exhausted and afraid to leave home. Gaddafi re-appears in a video after 11 days of silence.

    10/05/2011 LIBYA
    Bishop of Tripoli: Libyans are fleeing the war. Hundreds of thousands of refugees
    Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli warns the population is afraid and wants to escape. The call for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of negotiations. Today, meeting between Vatican Secretary of State and the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini to discuss the situation in North Africa and the Middle East.

    02/05/2011 LIBYA
    Tripoli bishop attends funeral of Gaddafi’s relatives, Moscow criticises airstrikes
    The funeral of Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren was held this afternoon. Russian Foreign Ministry criticises NATO for using disproportionate force, harming the population. It says the alliance is violating UN resolution. In Tripoli, the embassies of Italy and Great Britain and UN offices are set on fire.



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