Gaddafi must resign: ambassador

2011-02-28 11:47

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi must resign from his post for the sake of his people, Libyan ambassador to South Africa Abdullah Alzubedi said today.

“He must do the right thing for the people of Libya,” he said.

“They have been too kind and co-operative for the last 41 years. He must consider [resigning] in the interests of the country and stop killing innocent people,” he told the National Press Club in Pretoria.

Alzubedi, the longest serving ambassador to South Africa and also the dean of the diplomatic corps, said he and some senior officials had been trying to revolt over the years against the regime but all attempts had failed.

Although he did not give details, he said “some have been doing it in their own private ways but it hasn’t been easy”.

Alzubedi said he was satisfied with the response from the South African government to the situation in his home country.

He could not confirm reports that some African mercenaries were fighting in Libya.

“I’ve heard those reports but I have no information about it.”

He was also not aware of the alleged sale of over 100 sniper rifles and more than 50?000 rounds of ammunition by South Africa to Libya last year.

Alzubedi’s worst fear was that bloodshed would continue.

He said his family had decided to remain in the North African country.

Asked why he had not resigned like most of his colleagues, he replied that he had considered doing so but the question was, resign to whom?

He said the Libyan mission in South Africa was not receiving instructions from anyone at the moment or reporting to anyone.

Resigning would also mean he would not be able to serve the many Libyans in South Africa, most of them students.
“It’s not an option. We need to keep operating missions to support people,” he said.

He said those who resigned announced it as a way of taking a political position in support of the uprising, but their embassies were still operating. While it was up to individual embassies to decide what to do, the aim was to avoid closing down.

Thirty South Africans and 10 foreigners evacuated from Libya arrived at Waterkloof air force base in Pretoria in the early hours of this morning. The SA embassy in Libya was shut down last night and the employees flown back to South Africa, due to security concerns.

Alzubedi said Libyan ambassadors at different countries were trying to keep in touch as much as possible as the political turmoil in their country continued.

The Democratic Alliance has called on President Jacob Zuma to revoke Alzubedi’s credentials, and questioned why Zuma himself had failed to publicly criticise Gaddafi.

Meanwhile, the United Nations security council has since condemned the Libyan government’s “indiscriminate and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters”, a resolution which was yesterday welcomed by the department of international relations and co-operation. The United States, Britain and the UN Security Council all slapped sanctions on Libya this weekend.

Gaddafi, who has been labelled a “lunatic” and “out of touch with reality”, criticised the sanctions against his country and vowed to stay in power, saying Libyans were behind him. Alzubedi questioned how effective these sanctions would be in forcing Gaddafi to relinquish power.?

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