Friday, September 23, 2011

President Zuma Tells United Nations That African Union Efforts in Libya Were Ignored

AU efforts in Libya ignored - Zuma

September 22 2011 at 02:25pm

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.

New York: AU peace efforts in Libya were wrongly ignored in favour of Nato military activity in Libya, which should stop immediately, President Zuma has told the UN General Assembly.

“It is a matter of record that the AU efforts were never given a chance,” Zuma said during his annual address to the UN yesterday. “Military actions were preferred over peaceful means.”

Though South Africa voted to authorise a Nato military role to protect civilians in Libya, Zuma later charged that the UN’s mandate was used instead to help overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.

The AU would nevertheless remain engaged in helping Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to form a government, Zuma said.

South Africa recognised the NTC as Libya’s new representatives on Tuesday.

“During this period of working towards normalcy in Libya, we call for a cessation of hostilities and an end to the Nato aerial bombardment,” Zuma said.

“We also call for the lifting of the no-fly zone, which was necessitated by the need for the protection of civilians.”

Nato is still taking part in operations to flush out die-hard Gaddafi supporters.

Gaddafi is still at large, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Zuma said the spread of weapons in Libya posed a threat to the entire sub-Saharan region and had to be dealt with. He also called on the NTC to protect migrant workers, especially 2.5 million from sub-Saharan countries.

The Libyan rebels have been targeting sub-Saharan Africans for reprisals, believing them to have been mercenaries for Gaddafi.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is investigating these killings.

“Immediate measures should be taken to put an end to the killings, arbitrary arrests and the detention of migrant workers and black Libyans,” Zuma said.

He also confirmed South Africa’s support for Palestine’s bid for UN state recognition.

South Africa holds one of 15 Security Council seats and would vote for Palestinian membership.

South Africa also supported “the ongoing struggle for self-determination” for Western Sahara.

Zuma reiterated South Africa’s call for a new permanent Security Council for Africa.

South Africa is a candidate for such a seat, if it is created. – Independent Foreign Service

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