AU has 'important role' in ending Libya crisis: Britain

4th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday stressed to African Union Commission chief Jean Ping that the group had "an important role" in solving the Libya conflict during talks in London.

Britain is one of the leading contributors to the NATO air campaign against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces, but the operation has struggled to attract widespread support from countries surrounding the north African state.

During a "useful discussion", Hague "made clear that the AU has an important role to support what must be a Libyan-led and owned process to reach a political settlement," the minister's office said in a statement.

"It is important that the AU has signalled that Kadhafi cannot be part of the negotiation process, and that there must be a transfer of power," he added.

African rulers have been reluctant to speak out against the embattled Libyan leader, who has funded many African causes.

Ping has also criticised the International Criminal Court's arrest warrants over atrocities allegedly carried out by Kadhafi, one of his sons and his intelligence chief.

The AU met last week in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to discuss the ongoing crisis and drew up a road map for a possible settlement, which was rejected by Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council (TNC).

During the meeting, African leaders declared they would not enforce the ICC warrants.

Despite the differences between NATO and the African bloc, Hague maintained there were "many elements of the AU proposal which we can work with".

© 2011 AFP

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