VATICAN CITY: The Vatican’s delegate in Tripoli is calling for a halt to NATO air strikes in Libya and for the West to negotiate with Muammar Qaddafi’s government, insisting the Libyan leader doesn’t oppose dialogue.
Monsignor Giovanni Martinelli, the Holy See’s longtime apostolic vicar in Tripoli, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has drawn his inspiration from the pope’s desire for peace.
Though Pope Benedict XVI has called for dialogue and diplomacy to prevail over warfare in the North African country, Martinelli, an Italian who was born in Libya in 1942, has gone much further by directly and repeatedly criticizing the NATO airstrikes aimed at helping rebels waging an uprising against Qaddafi’s 42-year rule.
Martinelli also attended the recent funeral of Qaddafi’s son after seeing the body in the morgue.
“I am speaking in the name of my conscience and in the name of my role as pastor and also in the name of the Gospels,” Martinelli said.