In an update on the situation in Libya, the spokesperson for Operation Unified Protector, Colonel Roland Lavoie explained that the current situation in Tripoli remains dynamic and complex. Although several journalists being held by gunmen in the Rixos hotel were allowed to leave with Red Cross workers on Wednesday afternoon, rebels do not yet fully control the Libyan capital.
Colonel Lavoie explained the fluid nature of the fight in Tripoli:
“Most notably, Tripoli is still the site of numerous clashes between pro- and anti-Qadhafi forces. And the tension is far from being over.
“The situation in Tripoli is indeed very, very dynamic and complex, even today…we are closely monitoring these developments hour after hours. Outside Tripoli, fighting and acts of aggression still occur in such areas such as Sirte and Sheba and also in Zaarara where civilians are uprising and being repressed by indiscriminate shelling.
“No later than yesterday a surface-to-surface missile was fired from the southwest of Sirte and landed in the vicinity of Misrata, apparently without any casualties.”
Despite an uncertain picture on the ground, the NATO spoksperson, Oana Lungescu, took the opportunity to mould NATO policy for a post Gadaffi government:
“This afternoon, ambassadors will meet here at NATO headquarters to take stock of our operation and the situation in Libya. They’ll discuss the way forward. And I would expect that they’ll also want to look at options for a possible NATO role once this conflict is over.
“Obviously, I can’t prejudge the ambassadors’ discussion. But there is a general understanding that any future NATO engagement will be governed by three principles.
“Firstly, the leading role in the post-Qadhafi period in supporting the Libyan people rests with the United Nations and the Contact Group. NATO will be in a supporting role. Secondly, NATO will have no troops on the ground. And thirdly, any possible NATO future role in Libya in addition to the current one under Operation Unified Protector will have to be upon request.”
The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is currently in discussions with M. Mahmoud Jibril, the Prime Minister of the Transitional National Council of Libya.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Tuesday that “Beijing is ready to work with the broader international community to quickly restore stability to war-torn Libya.” Holding a telephone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Yang said that China hopes Libya will swiftly return to calm and order. The country has softened its stance on Operation Unified Protector stating that the world should “let the Libyan people determine the future of their country”.