Friday, August 26, 2011

South African Government Rejects US 'Lies and Propaganda' Surrounding Libyan Assets

SA rejects US ‘lies and propaganda’ it is blocking release of funds for Libyan rebels

But SA disagreed with the US proposal to release an additional $1bn to the rebels who this week are saying that have toppled the government of Muammar Gaddafi

Published: 2011/08/26 07:03:03 AM

SA YESTERDAY rejected as "lies and propaganda" claims it had blocked a United Nations (UN) resolution to unfreeze funds for humanitarian activities in Libya.

The tiff adds another dimension to SA’s disagreement with western countries over resolution of the Libya crisis. It follows comments by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane last month that France was attempting to "recolonise" Africa by arming rebels in Libya and for its involvement in Côte d’Ivoire.

"It’s not true that we have blocked the release of funds to Libya. These accusations are blatant lies and propaganda," International Relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said.

"We have agreed with the US to support the motion at the United Nations to release $500m to accredited humanitarian organisations to assist suffering civilians in Libya," he said.

However, SA disagreed with the US proposal to release an additional $1bn to the rebels who this week toppled the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi .

Mr Monyela said SA would only support a motion to release $1bn to Libya once the National Transitional Council (NTC) had been recognised as a legitimate body by the UN.

"The UN has not recognised the rebels as a structure, so you can’t release funds to them." This position was motivated by concern that the rebels did not have sound structures to administer and fully account for the funds.

SA has yet to recognise the leadership of the council as an official government.

Divisions within the African Union (AU) on the Libyan question came to the fore this week as Nigeria broke ranks by recognising the NTC.

President Jacob Zuma arrived in Ethiopia yesterday to discuss plans by the AU to implement its roadmap in Libya. Mr Zuma and his AU counterparts were expected to make an announcement about Libya today .

The roadmap proposes the creation of a unity government that will enable Mr Gaddafi’s supporters to play a part in the reconstruction of the country.

On Wednesday, 200 eminent intellectuals, politicians and professionals supported the AU’s roadmap as the "only plan" that will stabilise Libya.

Foreign policy analyst Siphamandla Zondi of the Institute of Global Dialogue said SA would in the end accept the NTC as the governing party in Libya.

"While SA preferred the AU approach of an inclusive dialogue leading to a transitional government and an election of a new government, it has had to accept that the NTC will determine the fate of Libya as victors in the conflict," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron in a telephone call to Mr Zuma yesterday urged SA to support the release of assets to help Libya’s reconstruction initiatives.

"The prime minister spoke to the president of SA, Jacob Zuma, this morning to discuss the situation in Libya," Mr Cameron’s office said.

"They agreed that Libya now has the opportunity for transition to a peaceful, democratic and inclusive government and they discussed how the international community should actively and urgently support this process."

The AU needed to take swift decisions at its summit to unfreeze further assets, Mr Cameron said.

SA has accused the UK, France and the US of abusing the UN Security Council resolution to impose a no-fly zone in Libya.

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