Paris wants Libya contact group to meet in Africa
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Monday that the next meeting of the international contact group on Libya should take place in Africa.
"I hope that the next meeting of the contact group, after that in Istanbul, can take place in an African country to mark the involvement of the African Union in the process" of getting Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi to leave power, Juppe told journalists.
The contact group, which is scheduled to meet in Istanbul on Friday, was created in London on March 29. It includes all the country's participating in a NATO campaign against Kadhafi's regime.
Juppe said after meeting Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz that he was pleased the two agreed on what should happen next regarding the Libyan conflict.
"As president Aziz has said, as we have been saying for a long time, Kadhafi has lost all legitimacy, there is no solution if he remains in power. He must therefore commit to leaving power and a process of negotiations can begin.
"We think that the AU (African Union) can play a crucial role in achieving this result," Juppe said, adding he hoped the pan-african bloc would be represented in Istanbul.
The African Union recently endorsed a roadmap towards a peace deal in Libya at a summit in Equatorial Guinea, which calls for a ceasefire and negotiations on democratic reforms, with provision for a multinational peacekeeping force organised by the United Nations.
So far the AU has been unable to convince the rebels to accept the proposal, or to convince Kadhafi to leave power as the rebellion demands.
The AU also decided that its members would not execute an International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued for the Libyan leader.
Kadhafi was one of the main contributors to AU running costs but also, thanks to his petrodollars, unilaterally funded several projects across the continent for years.
African leaders have publicly criticised NATO's air attacks on Kadhafi's regime, including South African President Jacob Zuma who said the alliance's actions were undermining AU efforts to find a lasting solution in the north African country.
© 2011 AFP