By Arab News
Talks to end a standoff around the besieged Libyan town of Bani Walid broke down Sunday, said a negotiator for fighters hunting Muammar Qaddafi.
“As chief negotiator, I have nothing to offer right now. From my side, negotiations are finished,” Abdallah Kanshil told reporters at the site of earlier talks with tribal elders from the town, one of the last bastions of support for Qaddafi.
No comment was available from the other side.
Kanshil said: “They said they don’t want to talk, they are threatening everyone who moves. They are putting snipers on high rise buildings and inside olive groves, they have a big fire force. We compromised a lot at the last minute.”
“We will leave this for the field commanders to decide, for the NTC to decide what to do next,” he said of the interim authority, the National Transitional Council.
A local spokesman for the NTC said the front line was 15 to 20 km north of Bani Walid and that troops were just awaiting orders to advance. “Last night the Qaddafi forces tried to move out. Our fighters responded and there were some clashes lasting a few minutes,” Mahmud Abdelaziz said.
The deputy chief of the military council in Tarhuna, north of Bani Walid, Abdulrazzak Naduri, said: “Everything depends on the negotiations. If they refuse (to surrender), we will advance, if the negotiations go well, we will enter and hoist the flag without a fight. It’s the last chance, we can’t extend our ultimatum again.”
An Al Jazeera television correspondent said NTC forces have identified the whereabouts of Qaddafi. The reporter quoted the head of the military council in Tripoli, Abdul Hakim Belhadj, but did not identify the location.
The NTC spokesman in London, Guma Al-Gamaty, said that when captured Qaddafi should stand trial in Libya and not at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague that has issued an arrest warrant for suspected crimes against humanity committed during the Libyan uprising.
Libya’s interim government meanwhile moved to calm its anxious fighters and offer stability, announcing plans to draft thousands of the men who ousted Qaddafi into the police and find other jobs for the rest.
Though Tripoli has become noticeably calmer in recent days, with people drifting back to work, cars back on the roads and cafes and restaurants starting to do business again, there are still large numbers of armed men on the streets. Many more are still in brigades in other parts of the country.
NTC officials on Sunday announced plans to train 3,000 of demobilized rebel fighters as police and national security officers and to set up training schemes and scholarships for others.
The NTC announcement came as the United Nations special adviser on Libya said that the proliferation of weapons in the country is a major concern and the new rulers need to establish a proper police force and army to replace the hundreds of armed groups who patrol the streets.
Ian Martin, in Libya to compile a report for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on rebuilding the country after its civil war, also said the interim government needed to start the electoral process soon if it is to honor its commitment to establish democracy.
“I’ve just been discussing with the minister of the interior the challenge that they face in terms of public security, in terms of getting police more fully back on the streets and weapons off the streets and building a democratically accountable police force.
“(That is) not an easy matter in any society, let alone one which is just coming out of 42 years of oppressive security and conflict,” Martin told Reuters.