S.Africa's Zuma in Russia talks on Libya: foreign ministry

3rd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

South African President Jacob Zuma will hold talks in Russia on Sunday with the International Contact Group on Libya, the foreign ministry in Pretoria said.

Zuma belongs to the African Union's team tasked with engaging "the opposing parties in Libya in order to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the current conflict in accordance with the will of the Libyan people", the ministry said in a statement.

"President Zuma's participation in the meeting follows the invitation extended to him as the member of African Union ad hoc High Level Committee on Libya by the Russian Federation," it said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said the talks in Russia would include all members of the contact group, but could provide no details on the talks.

The announcement came as Zuma was leaving the African Union summit in Equatorial Guinea, where the continental grouping adopted a plan for negotiations between the warring Libyan parties.

"We are very happy that we have reached this point, that we can now say very soon we will be launching the talks in Addis Ababa and we believe we will get the necessary support from everyone," Zuma said late Friday after the summit.

But the accord reached at the summit did little to bring forward earlier AU proposals, which have been rejected by the rebellion who insist that Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi must step down.

New elements in the roadmap include provisions for a multinational peacekeeping force organised by the United Nations.

The AU also says that Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has agreed to stay out of the negotiations, but the 53-nation bloc was unable to take a position on his future, which is a key sticking point between the two sides.

© 2011 AFP

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