Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Libya News Update: Acting AU Chairman Condemns NATO Bombing; Zuma Statement on Visit

Acting AU Chairman Condemns Bombings on Libya

by PL — last modified May 30, 2011 08:07 PM

The NATO bombings on civilian areas in Libya were condemned Monday by the acting chairman of the African Union (AU), Teodoro Obiang-Nguema.

In a statement, he said that "the presence of forces and powers determined to divide Africa" were detected among the forces determined to topple the Libyan government.

Obiang-Nguema, who is president of Ecuadorial Guinea, advocated the creation of a peacekeeping force that would intervene between the troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and the opposition forces of the National Transitional Council, supported by NATO.

This position was announced in an official communiqué from the president and underlines that the ongoing NATO attacks, described as indiscriminate, are damaging Libya's infrastructure, and "what is worse, human lives in Libya".

The text was published in parallel with South African President Jacob Zuma's arrival in Libya, in a mediation mission begun by the AU weeks ago, which has not produced results so far.

President Zuma returns from Libya

31 May 2011

President Jacob Zuma has returned from Tripoli, Libya where he held talks with the Leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi on how to end the conflict in that country.

President Jacob Zuma has returned from Tripoli, Libya where he held talks with the Leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi on how to end the conflict in that country.

The two leaders held lengthy discussions at the Libyan leader’s home in Tripoli, and President Zuma will give a report on the visit to the chairperson of the African Union Ad-hoc High Level Committee on Libya His Excellency President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.

President Zuma reiterated the African Union peace plan, especially the need for a ceasefire on all sides to enable a political dialogue amongst the Libyan people to begin.

Col Gaddafi reiterated his agreement to a ceasefire and a dialogue of the Libyan people to find a political solution. He expressed his anger at the NATO bombings, which have claimed the lives of his son and grandchildren and continue to cause a destruction of property and disruption of life. Col Gaddafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue. He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties.

President Zuma was taken on a tour to see the destruction caused by the bombings and the deepening humanitarian crisis. The personal safety of Col Gaddafi is of concern. The President is satisfied with the progress made and is happy with the frankness of the discussions which have enabled him to gain an understanding of where the Libyan government stands on issues and the way forward.

“We call on all leaders in Libya to exercise decisive leadership to find a solution to the crisis in the country, and to put the interests of their country first. Nothing other than a dialogue among all parties in Libya can bring about a lasting solution. We will also reiterate the AU call for the NATO and other parties to respect the AU’s role in searching for a solution in the matter’’, said President Zuma.

President Zuma met representatives of the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council in Pretoria recently.

Enquiries: Clayson Monyela on 0828067405 and Zizi Kodwa on 082 330 4910.

Issued by The Presidency

Clinton to attend Libya group meeting next week

Tue May 31, 2011 7:26pm GMT

WASHINGTON May 31 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend a meeting of the NATO-backed coalition against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi next week as the group seeks to accelerate the campaign to end his rule.

The State Department said the meeting of the Libya Contact Group would be June 9 in the United Arab Emirates at the start of Clinton's trip to several African nations.

A State Department statement said the meeting would build on the coalition's May 5 gathering in Rome. At that meeting the group offered a financial lifeline potentially worth billions of dollars to rebels fighting Gaddafi in an uprising inspired by popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

The Libya Contact Group includes the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan.

Western powers have said they expect Gaddafi will be forced out by a process of attrition as air strikes, defections from his entourage and shortages take their toll -- although the ground campaign looks deadlocked with rebels unable to advance toward Tripoli, where Gaddafi appears entrenched.

Clinton's Africa trip will include stops in Zambia, where she will attend a meeting with representatives of 37 African countries covered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which grants favorable access to U.S. markets.

She also will visit Tanzania and Ethiopia, where she will meet with leaders of the African Union, which has sought to advance its own plan for ending the Libya conflict.

South African President Jacob Zuma, traveling as an AU representative, visited Tripoli on Monday but emerged with little progress on Gaddafi's refusal to quit, a condition that both NATO and the rebels insist on for any cease-fire.

(Editing by Bill Trott)

No comments: