African leaders did not fail in Libya: S.Africa's Zuma

23rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said African leaders had not failed in Libya but added that the NATO-led use of force had undermined the continent's efforts at peace.

"I don't think we could in any way have a feeling that the AU failed to deal with the matter of Libya," Zuma, who is part of a team leading efforts by the African Union to push a regional peace plan to end the conflict, told reporters.

"I think that the point we have been making is that those who have a lot of capacity, even the capacity to bombard the countries, really undermined the AU's initiatives and effort to deal with the matter in Libya.

"That point we have been making and we continue to make. We could have avoided a lot of loss of lives in Libya by now."

The AU Security Council will meet on Thursday and Friday in Ethiopia to discuss the latest developments, and Zuma defended the organisation's Libyan roadmap rejected by the rebels who demanded Moamer Kadhafi first step down.

"We remained on a logical route that would carry the interest of the Libyan people. Its not too little, too late," said Zuma who sits on a high-level AU mediation delegation that visited Libya twice.

South Africa voted in favour of a no-fly zone over Libya, but Zuma said the United Nations Security Council resolution had been abused to further interests other than protecting civilians.

Zuma said that after the conflict the AU wanted a democratic country based on a constitution crafted by Libyans.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday said Kadhafi had not sought asylum in South Africa and that no airplanes had been sent to Tripoli for him to leave the country.

Fighting continued in the capital Tuesday after rebels entered western Tripoli on Sunday, with fierce fighting reported between Kadhafi's forces and rebel fighters near the Libyan strongman's sprawling Bab al-Azizya residence.

© 2011 AFP

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