Home | News    Sunday 20 March 2011

African Union demands end to military strikes on Libya, skips Paris meeting

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March 19, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The African Union (AU) on Saturday criticized the launching of military operations by U.S. and European countries on Libya to enforce a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution adopted this week.

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MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 19, 2011) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines targeting about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya’s Mediterranean coast (AFP)

French planes fired the first shots, destroying tanks and armored vehicles in eastern Libya eight years to the day after U.S.-led forces headed across the Iraqi border in 2003.

Hours later, U.S. and British ships and submarines launched more than 110 cruise missiles against air defenses in the oil-producing North African country.

CBS news network said that three B-2 stealth bombers dropped 40 bombs on a major Libyan airfield.

Today’s attacks were designed to cripple Libyan air defenses as the West tries to force the Libyan leader Muammar from power who has unleashed his forces to crush a popular uprising since mid-February that eventually turned into an armed rebellion that managed to control large parts of the country.

The Libyan opposition leadership, Arab League and Arab Gulf states have demanded that the international community intervene militarily by imposing a no-fly zone to prevent Gaddafi from using his air force against civilian population.

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar are reported to have dedicated fighter jets in the military operations.

It was only the African Union (AU) that issued a statement earlier this month saying it opposed "any foreign military intervention, whatever its form".

Despite this position, the three African countries sitting on the UNSC voted in favor of the resolution which authorized member states "to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians".

But an AU panel established to seek a peaceful end to the crisis called today for an "immediate stop" to air strikes stressing that it rejects "any kind of foreign military intervention" in the north African country.

The situation in Libya "demands urgent action so an African solution (can be found) to the very serious crisis which this sister nation is going through", said Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz who is one of the panel members.

A solution must take into account "our desire that Libya’s unity and territorial integrity be respected", he said.

The AU committee on Libya is composed of five African heads of state. But the meeting in the Mauritanian capital was only attended by the presidents of Mauritania, Mali and Congo.

South Africa and Uganda were represented by ministers. The Chairperson of the AU Commission Jean Ping is also believed to have been there.

The panel was scheduled to travel to Libya on Sunday but it revealed today that they have been unable to get international permission to fly there.

Ironically South African officials expressed doubt whether the AU panel would be impartial and even questioned the wisdom of sitting on it.

"There are concerns here at home about this panel and whether South Africa should be part of it. It’s almost a given what they will say, given their relationship with that man [Gaddafi]," a senior government official told the Mail & Guardian based in South Africa.

The newspaper said that government officials in Johannesburg are worried that should the panel return with a recommendation to the AU that favors Gaddafi, it will spoil the image president Jacob Zuma wants to portray on the continent — that of himself as a statesman who believes in brokering peaceful solutions that do not merely serve its strongmen.

Western countries and NATO have initially insisted they will not intervene militarily in Libya without the approval of regional organizations such as the Arab League and the AU and a clear UNSC mandate.

However, references to AU’s prior consent were later dropped and Western officials only spoke of Arab League decision.

Today an emergency summit of world leaders in Paris called to discuss the implementation of no-fly zone over Libya was skipped by the AU for unknown reasons despite being invited and no African leader was present.

In a related issue, the government of Equatorial Guinea today said that Libyan television had misrepresented a telephone call between the country’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, and the Libyan leader.

Nguema who is the rotating AU chairman this year, only called Gaddafi to gain guarantees for the security of the AU Observation Committee that was to travel to Libya.

"Contrary to what some information disseminated by the Libyan television seems to suggest, the telephone contact established by H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and holder of the current Rotating Presidency of the African Union, with the current President of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was due, solely and exclusively, to his responsibility as mediator of the AU, and was for the precise purpose of guaranteeing the security of the Heads of State comprising the Observation Committee that will travel in the next few hours to the areas of conflict".

"This Government also wishes to recall that the current rotating President of the African Union has already declared that he will not state any personal opinion, or show any unilateral support to any of the parties, in Libya or in other places of conflict within the African continent, since as Rotating President of this institution, his opinion is ascribed completely to the agreed official posture established by the organizations of the African Union".

The South African president came under fire in his country last week over a call he made to Gaddafi. Libyan TV had quoted Zuma as telling his counterpart that that the AU should investigate the “conspiracy” against him and the world should not believe what foreign media were saying about Libya.

The Ugandan government on Thursday said it opposes “foreign interference” in Libya and declared it will not freeze Libyan-owned assets in the country.

Libyan generosity and Gaddafi’s role in the creation of the African Union could explain the continents cautious stand, experts say.

The AU was born in the 1999 Sirte Declaration, named after a summit hosted by Gaddafi in his hometown on the Libyan coast.

The declaration said its authors felt inspired by Gaddafi’s "vision for a strong and united Africa."

"The AU as an organization has benefited significantly from Gaddafi’s wealth," said Fred Golooba Mutebi of the Institute of Social Research at Kampala’s Makerere University to Agence France Presse (AFP).

Delphine Lecoutre, a researcher with the French Center for Ethiopian Studies, pointed to the AU’s weak statement as an example of the PSC timidity in facing up to the behavior of its leaders.

"There was a Peace and Security Council meeting on Libya, which resulted in a cosmetic communiqué hardly condemning the violence in Libya and putting it in a [clever] way, loss of human life and destruction of property, but nothing regarding the political situation in the country," said Lecoutre. "It is difficult for the AU to deal with that case."

(ST)

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  • 20 March 2011 08:45, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

    African should open their eyes these time. Western European and North America coutries bullying.

    tone of African liberators

    repondre message

  • 20 March 2011 10:13, by Redbull Geo

    The truth of the Arabs everywhere with troubles does no meaning to some western countries who had fought such corruptions. Allow them to remove that Gaddafi and what we should be saying is not to let western countries use both direct and indirect rules in our countries.

    Arabs are blood suckers and should be delt with anytime. You hear that presidents who talk in favour of such problems have names of Arabs or are arabs.

    What they so call AU is very much confusing us. When we had a struggle for secession, they even refused and objected our view several times. Yet our people were suffering, dying, discriminated, tortured and used against othere by the Arabs.

    Please America and France GO; GOOOOO crash those arab fulls...

    repondre message

  • 20 March 2011 12:38, by Murle Intellectual

    The AU is a shame on the African Continent. It is a useless body like a chicken without a head. It should always be ignored. When the Arab dogs were killing Southern Sudanese recently in Abiyei and other border areas between the South and Northern Sudan, it was OK with them. Shame on you AU for supporting a madman who is killing his own people

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  • 20 March 2011 13:28, by Bravo Nuer

    bravo! Washington DC,Great B, Paris and Canada governments for implementing a long awaited rescue operation in libya. Gadhafi and his son Saef islam must be hanged like Sadam Hussien.
    you expedite your steps forcefully on this operations without chewing words since Col. Gadhafi is in full swing of defying your superiority and humanitarian assistance on the groudn.
    hell to Gadhafi now and tomorrow to omer bashir.

    repondre message

    • 20 March 2011 14:00, by Bravo Nuer

      Shut up foolish organization pseudonymously dubbed as African Union which proved by your barbaric and anarchical styles of brutal leadership as Against Union of Africa.
      we the grassroots know it you can not favour the diplomatically drastic measures being taken by the international community since all of you African leaders are bosses not leaders who are notorious for power, bloodshed, wealth accumulation, and with unleash regional instability and defence dilemma don’t you.
      As heirs of Gadhafi waiting in the wings you must not cheat the innocent Africans to resort to your rotten father Gadhafi. The international community in compliance with UN and in keeping with Universal Declarations on human rights must act sooner the better to ensure that all barking dogs leaders in Africa and Middle- east are totally brought to their knees and direct to the book.
      Wait as events are unfolding your turns one by one are imminent and we are fond and proud of everything for the sake of our own democratic atmosphere which is today being camouflaged with so many countless colours null and void.
      Go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      repondre message

      • 20 March 2011 20:41, by Paul Ongee

        AU/Jean Ping,

        What do you think you’re doing? You need many things from the west including quality education, economic assistance and technical know-how. How can you survive without these western assistances? Tell me which African country has the best economic and political system similar to one of those in the western world?

        Paris does not care about skipping meeting because some African leaders only go to fall asleep in that kind of air-conditioned conference room waking up only to find out that a decision has been made. Pictures of sleeping African leaders at UN H/Q in New York can prove that.

        Can you imagine if one of the Arab countries was a superpower? I wish we Africans had got our independence from the Arabs so that we get Islamized; lost senses easily, deny women rights and start butchering our own people when they take to the streets.

        Rwanda was an exception, not an Islamic country but why should we allow the same thing of 1994 happen in Darfur, Libya and other third world countries in the eyes of the western world which we ourselves often blame for not intervening on time?

        Regardless of the economic differences, why should we not admit that we cannot, however, solve our own political problems facing the African continent without western intervention? If Arabs fail to solve theirs, why should we mimic them? Let the western world help us solve our own economic and political problems as well.

        When it comes to application of democratic principles and the rule of law, typical African leaders often imitate Arab/Muslim leaders instead of adapting western system by preaching democracy through coup detat and stay presidents for life. Wake up AU/Jean Ping.

        Paul Ongee
        Khartoum, Sudan

        repondre message

  • 20 March 2011 20:25, by Paul Ongee

    AU/jean Ping,

    What do do think you’re doing? You need many things from the west including quality education, economic assistance and technical know-how. How can you survive without these western assistances? Tell me which African country has the best economic and political system similar to one of those in the western world?

    Paris does not care about skipping meeting because some African leaders only go to fall asleep in that kind of air-conditioned conference room waking up only to find out that a decision has been made. Pictures of sleeping African leaders at UN H/Q in new York can prove that.

    Can you imagine if one of the Arab countries was a superpower? I wish we Africans had got our independence from the Arabs so that we get Islamized, lost sense easily, deny women rights and start buchering our own people when they take to the streets.

    Rwanda was an exception, not an Islamic country but why should we allow the same thing of 1994 happen in Darfur, Libya and other third world countries in the eyes of the western world which we ourselves often blame for not intervening?

    Regardless of the economic differences, why should we not admit that we cannot, however, solve our own political problems facing the African continent without western intervention? If Arabs fail to solve theirs, why should we mimick them? Let the western world help us solve our own economic and political problems as well.

    When it comes to application of democratic principles and the rule of law, typical African leaders often imitate Arab leaders instead of adapting western system by preaching democracy through coup detat and stay presidents for life. Wake up AU/jean Ping.

    Paul Ongee
    Khartoum, Sudan

    repondre message

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