Libya ambassador to UN, agreement now or give us arms

'Italian leadership and means to fight terror necessary'

06 March, 09:43

    (by Valeria Robecco) (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK, MARCH 6 - A deadline is necessary in Libya - if an agreement is not reached now on a government of national unity military aid will be necessary, the North African country's ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, has told ANSA.

    He said the deadline could be the end of March.

    ''A time limit should be set for militias to leave the capital and a government of national unity needs to be formed, otherwise military efforts should be deployed alongside political ones'', Dabbashi told ANSA. ''I am thinking about the end of March''.

    The delegate of the Libyan government in Tobruk stressed that the support of the international community is necessary. And Italy must play a leadership role as part of this scenario: ''for historical reasons, and for economic interests, Italy must have the leadership in this international effort''. Dabbashi however confessed he is not very optimistic about the formation of a coalition government.

    Although he said he had confidence in the efforts put in place by the UN special envoy Bernardino Leon, he said ''the problem are the militias that don't want to negotiate and don't want to leave Tripoli''. And if political efforts will not be productive, ''it is necessary to give instruments to the legitimate government to fight terrorism''. The ambassador wants the UN Security Council to lift a weapons embargo on the government considered legitimate by the international community, stressing that the official Libya army is ready to accept an observer to guarantee that arms approved by the commission are handed over to the intended recipients. Moreover, he called for a ''green light on any country able to assist the Libyan army to fight terrorism''. ''For example with integrated efforts where we don't arrive with our own forces, as well as with intelligence and logistical assistance'', he said.

    The ambassador however did not ask for ''any ground operation by foreigners'' - ''no boots on the ground'' is a condition set by all Libyans.

    He said he believed however that ''the situation is as close as it gets to the scenario in 2011, when the international community realized there was no political solution to the crisis in the North African country''.

    ''Back then Gaddafi did not want to leave power'', he continued. ''Now, we are confronting the same situation, with Tripoli that does not want to negotiate and has no specific political requests''. At this point, ''there doesn't seem to be much of a choice for us other than fight and regain the capital''. (ANSAmed)
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