Libyan Negotiations for Bin Walid Fail: Anti-Gadhafi Representative

Posted September 4th, 2011 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A spokesman for Libya's anti-Gadhafi fighters says negotiations aimed at peacefully ending a standoff at one of the remaining strongholds of former leader Moammar Gadhafi have failed.

Negotiator Abdullah Kanshil told reporters Sunday that talks about the surrender of Bani Walid broke down after those loyal to Mr. Gadhafi insisted that anti-Gadhafi fighters enter the town without their weapons. No comment was available from pro-Gadhafi negotiators.

Anti-Gadhafi fighters say they are ready to attack Bani Walid, one of the remaining strongholds of former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

But the Libyan National Transitional Council has urged civilians in areas still held by pro-Gadhafi forces to come over to its side, vowing Saturday that no revenge would be taken.

The NTC has extended a deadline for all opponents to lay down arms until next Saturday. NTC officials hope that they can avoid laying siege to civilian areas.

In Italy Sunday, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini warned against a full-scale purging of Gadhafi-era military officials, urging Libya and the international community not to repeat the same “big mistake” it did in Iraq. The United States and Iraq dismantled the army there after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, putting many Iraqis on the streets and sending some into the insurgency.

Frattini also stressed the importance of preventing any infiltration by extremists into the new Libyan government.

NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Saturday in Benghazi his forces are in a “position of strength” and can enter any city, but that they want to avoid bloodshed. He said now is the time for Gadhafi loyalists in Sirte, Bani Walid and several other locations to peacefully surrender.