Gaddafi regime seeks diplomatic solution amid fighting
The opposition-held city of Misrata has seen more civilian casualties, amid reports of Gaddafi’s regime seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Libya.
The fighting on the ground seems to be located in two primary cities. In the west of the country, fighting continues in and around Misrata, the third largest city in Libya and the opposition’s only stronghold in the west, where the government has toughened its methods of halting the rebels. After another attack by Gaddafi troops, the Turkish humanitarian ship Ankara evacuated 230 civilians with severe injuries from Misrata, under the protection of Turkish jets and a frigate. After that, the Ankara headed for Benghazi to pick up another 100 injured, to transport them to Turkish hospitals.RT’s correspondent in Tripoli, Paula Slier, quotes doctors in Misrata who say in the last week alone about 160 people were killed in the city.In the eastern part of the country, pro-Gaddafi and opposition forces have been fighting for weeks now, with the frontline constantly shifting. They are now fighting around the city of Marsa-el-Brega.It remains unclear who is currently in control of the city. In the last six weeks, Brega has shifted from one party to another – six times.There is a sense on the ground that some sort of stalemate in the conflict is being reached, and more and more people are looking for a political solution. There has been an increase in diplomatic activity on behalf of the Gaddafi regime. On Sunday, the Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister flew to Athens carrying a personal message from Gaddafi to the Greek government, that Libya wants to put an end to the conflict, Reuters news agency reported. After that, Gaddafi’s envoy will head for Malta and Turkey.According to RT’s Paula Slier, Gaddafi might be open to some kind of settlement plan, which will include, though, someone from his closest circle taking power. However, Paula also adds that officials in Tripoli are all tight-lipped about any possibility Gaddafi might be seeking a way out of the situation. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens in pro-Gaddafi parts of the country are completely aghast about the idea of a settlement, which they regard as betrayal.
Many voices on the international stage say if any settlement is to be reached it has to include Gaddafi stepping down. Meanwhile, The New York Times said Monday, Gaddafi’s two sons had come up with a plan to remove their father from power, as according to them, Gaddafi is not planning to leave on his own. At the same time, in the rebels’ stronghold of Benghazi, key opposition members began talks with the British administration. The main question on the table is whether or not the coalition will supply the rebels with weapons.Besides, the British also plan to find out who exactly the opposition consists of, as there were several reports that some Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah members might be among the Libyan rebels. There is much concern about the rebels’ lack of organization. The rebels admitted that 13 opposition members, who had been killed in a coalition air strike, provoked the strike themselves.On Sunday, the US was supposed to stop all military involvement in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya, passing all responsibility for ending the mission to its NATO allies. The US also announced its intention to decrease the number of its battleships, submarines and fighter jets in the area. However, at the weekend there was a request from NATO to the US, to extend its participation in the coalition air strikes. According to the latest reports, the US administration has decided to prolong its involvement until Tuesday, despite continuously insisting on the withdrawal of its troops, as the criticism of President Obama increases within the US government.