Friday, June 17, 2011

President Zuma Criticized by ANC Youth League Over Libya Policy

President lashed over Libya

16 June, 2011 21:54

Malema ups the ante on Zuma

President Jacob Zuma was yesterday at pains to explain his government's much-criticised decision to support the UN resolution on Libya.

Zuma was speaking after a stinging rebuke by ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema at the league's national congress in Midrand, northern Johannesburg.

Malema lashed out at Zuma for his government's "unforgivable" failure "to detect" what he described as the West's true intentions, which were to forcefully effect regime change and take over Libya's vast oil reserves.

South Africa voted in favour of a no-fly zone over Libya in an attempt to stop Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi's forces from bombing rebels.

"The inability of our government to detect the imperialist intentions of the US and the EU in Libya is not forgivable, because it has diminished the respect the ANC enjoys among the progressive forces of the world.

"South Africa's endorsement of a plan to invade Libya, sponsor rebels, assassinate the political leadership of Libya, and take over the oil production can never be justified, and it is a sign of a lack of coherent foreign policy direction at government level in terms of what should be the African agenda," said Malema.

Zuma said the decision was justified and had been widely canvassed within the African Union.

He said that the Arab League - of which Libya was a member until its expulsion after the insurrection began - supported the no-fly zone.

"People were saying, 'We want change'. They were not just shot, but the Libyan government used air power to kill the people who were protesting.

"In the [UN] Security Council there are three countries from Africa - South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon - and they consulted heavily, including the headquarters of the AU.

"It was the view of all of us that you cannot use airspace against your civilians and therefore not to allow flying to use the space to kill your civilians was a unanimous decision of the countries ... as well as the Arab League, which had sponsored the resolution. That was the objective of the resolution not [for Nato] to bomb Libya," Zuma said.

This was in line with the ANC's policy on human rights, he said.

"We believe nobody should bomb anybody.

"That is the belief of the ANC," he said.

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