A senior U.N. envoy heading for Tripoli said on Monday he was optimistic that the imposition of U.N. sanctions against Libya could be avoided.
"There is still hope that, at this stage of the negotiations, there are possibilites for agreement and margin for the respect and improvement of the U.N. resolution," Undersecretary-General Vladimir Petrovsky said.Meanwhile, the Libyan ambassador to Lebanon, Ashour Al Fortas, warned of a military strike against his country "at any moment, " and accused the United States of provoking a conflict, the Ad Diyar newspaper said Monday.
"I personally do not rule out military aggression against Libya at any moment because the United States is pushing for tension and confrontation," Ad Diyar quoted Fortas as saying.
"We are living in a state similar to that which preceeded the war against Iraq," he said, referring to the multinational attack against Iraq on Jan. 15, last year.
Petrovsky flew into Rome on Monday. He will go to Tripoli on Tuesday to spell out Security Council demands to Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi and discuss last week's attacks there against embassies of countries which backed the sanctions resolution.
The U.N. envoy, a former Soviet first deputy foreign minister, is expected to complement Arab League diplomacy in trying to reach a solution in the confrontation stemming from the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
But diplomats say Petrovsky has little leeway for any new proposals or to negotiate changes in the Security Council resolution which would cut Libya's international air links and ban arms sales to it after an April 15 deadline.