Thursday, July 07, 2011

South African President Zuma Recruits Russia to AU's Quest for Peace in Libya

Zuma recruits Russia to AU's quest for peace in Libya

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA Jul 05 2011 16:20

President Jacob Zuma returned from a "successful" visit to Russia on Tuesday, where he and President Dmitry Medvedev held talks on the Libyan political crisis.

Zuma met Medvedev and Nato secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to convey the proposals for a framework agreement on a political solution to the problems in Libya. This was as agreed to by the African Union (AU) summit in Equatorial Guinea last week.

From Hell to Limbo

Nearly 20 000 people have fled Libya for the safety of the Italian coastline this year. In Mineo, one of the biggest centres for asylum seekers in Italy, refugees share with MSF staff their feelings about Libya and their new living conditions and painfully uncertain future.

"The meeting was very successful, and I am confident that it will contribute significantly to reaching a solution that will bring peace and stability in Libya," Zuma said.

"We reiterated our concerns about the misinterpretation of the United Nations Resolution. We emphasised the importance of starting negotiations urgently, and we requested Nato to assist in persuading the TNC [Transitional National Council] to remove some of the preconditions that are making it hard or impossible to start with the negotiation process."

Zuma said he was "very pleased" at Medvedev's assurance of his country's support for the African Union road map.

"We agree that the military solution is not the correct way to resolve the problem," he said.

Zuma met Medvedev in his capacity as a member of the AU's ad hoc high-level committee on Libya.

The AU summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea last week reaffirmed its belief that a political solution was the only viable means of realising the aspirations of the Libyan people.

The summit also reiterated that the AU road map was integral to achieving peace.

Zuma's office said the framework agreement which was discussed between Zuma, Medvedev and Rasmussen, included elements of the AU road map and was a more detailed plan charting the proposed way forward in Libya. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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