Medvedev to Zuma: Let’s work together on Libya
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday told his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma their countries should work together to resolve armed conflicts including the one unfolding in Libya.
The two leaders met briefly in the southern Chinese city of Sanya on the eve of the BRICS summit, which will bring them together with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Zuma went to Tripoli at the weekend as part of an African Union mediation team seeking to broker a truce between Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and rebels, but a peace plan fell through when the rebels insisted the strongman step down.
“Of course, when these turbulent processes are ongoing on the African continent, we are closely watching what is happening in North Africa,” Medvedev told Zuma.
“I think the resolution of this and other conflicts depends on the level of coordination of our efforts,” said the Russian leader.
South Africa supported a UN Security Council resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and authorising “all necessary measures” to protect civilians, opening the door to coalition air strikes, while Russia abstained.
South Africa nevertheless does not support regime change in Libya, while Russia has said that Kadhafi should go.
On Thursday, South Africa will for the first time join the BRICS summit, designed to showcase the growing economic and political clout of the world’s major emerging powers.
The meeting is expected to adopt a declaration which will likely address the Libya conflict.