NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) – The African Union’s panel on Libya Sunday called for an “immediate stop” to all attacks after the United States, France and Britain launched military action against Moamer Kadhafi’s forces.
After a more than four-hour meeting in the Mauritanian capital, the body also asked Libyan authorities to ensure “humanitarian aid to those in need,” as well as the “protection of foreigners, including African expatriates living in Libya.”
It underscored the need for “necessary political reforms to eliminate the causes of the present crisis” but at the same time called for “restraint” from the international community to avoid “serious humanitarian consequences.”
The panel also announced a meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on March 25, along with representatives from the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Conference, the European Union and the United Nations to “put in place a mechanism for consultation and concerted action” to resolve the Libyan crisis.
The African Union had been mostly relegated to the background prior to commencement of military attacks against Libya. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 265th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government, on 10 March 2011 rejected all proposals for foreign military intervention in Libya. The African Union was clearly not given much attention as the West bent over backwards to ensure that the Arab League and perhaps by extension the “Arab street” were firmly on board to pacify those who may have problems with yet another war on an Islamic or Arab country.
The Union, operating more or less in isolation, decided to form a 5 man panel comprising of 5 African leaders, most with bonafide dictatorial credentials, to mediate between rebels in Libya and Gaddafi. Gaddafi of course was instrumental in the creation of the African Union. With no support from the Arab League he is likely to expect his fellow “African” leaders to come to his aid.
As this list of current African dictators shows, there is no shortage of Gaddafi type leaders on the continent whose own survival and interests may indeed lie in ensuring that the likes of Gaddafi do not fall on their swords. It is, therefore, no surprise that the African Union has begun using stronger diplomatic language to demand an immediate halt to military attacks on Gaddafi’s military assets as the AFP report above suggests.
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