AU calls for political solution to Libyan crisis

The African Union (AU) has endorsed the proposals for a political solution to the crisis in Libya, within the context of the AU roadmap and the relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions.

In a communique at the end of the 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU at Malabo Equatorial Guinea on Friday, members also reaffirmed the AU’s conviction that only a political solution would make it possible to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people and preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the country.

The Assembly further requested its adhoc committee to submit those proposals to the Libyan parties, namely the Government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the Transitional National Council (TNC) of Libya, and to engage them on that basis.

That, it added, including the early convening of negotiations under the auspices of the AU and the UN, with the support of the League of Arab States, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the European Union.

The Assembly called on the Libyan parties to demonstrate the required political will, place the supreme interest of their country and people above any other considerations, and extend the necessary cooperation to the adhoc committee. .

It further urged the AU’s international partners, the UN Security Council and its members and relevant bilateral partners, to support the African initiative and the search for a political solution, as the best way of achieving peace, democracy, the rule of law and national reconciliation in Libya.

The Assembly underscored that the role of the AU was formally recognised by the UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011) and was fully consistent with the provision of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.

Meanwhile Libyan rebel leaders have welcomed the African Union offer to open talks with the government in Tripoli without the direct involvement of Muammar Gaddafi.

The Transitional National Council said it was the first time the AU had recognised the people’s aspirations for democracy and human rights in Libya.

The talks offer was agreed at an AU summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The AU also told members not to execute an arrest warrant for Col. Gaddafi from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The warrant “seriously complicates the efforts aimed at finding a negotiated political settlement to the crisis in Libya, which will also address, in a mutually reinforcing way, issues related to impunity and reconciliation,” delegates said in a statement. ­

The Chairman of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, said they were not against the ICC, but felt that the court was “discriminatory” and targeted only officials from the African continent.

A total of 31 states in Africa are signatories to the ICC, representing nearly a third of the nations where the mandate applies.

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim welcomed the decision.

“The ICC is a European Guantanamo Bay. It’s only against the African leaders. It never deals with the crimes committed by the United States of America… and by the European powers,” he told reporters in Tripoli.

Col. Gaddafi, along with his son Saif al-­Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-­Sanussi, has been accused of crimes against humanity. The ICC said it had grounds to believe they ordered attacks on civilians.

The offer of talks without Col Gaddafi’s involvement followed intense debates between African leaders at the summit over two days.

The AU also called for an immediate ceasefire and the lifting of the UN no-fly zone which paved the way for NATO’s military intervention.

It said both parties should formally request the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in Libya to monitor the implementation of a cessation of hostilities.

Source: Daily Graphic

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