Presidency ‘not aware’ of SA law firm helping Gaddafi

2011-05-31 14:09

The presidency was not aware of South African lawyers being roped in to assist Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, a spokesperson said.

“I don’t know ... I’m completely unaware,” said President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman, Zizi Kodwa.

He was responding to a report in The Times newspaper today that a South African law firm had met with Libyan officials about offering support to Gaddafi if he ended up facing charges in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Zuma returned from a visit to Tripoli this morning.

The firm, Langa Attorneys, which was named in the report, could not be reached for comment.

Earlier today, Zuma’s office said Gaddafi was not prepared to leave his country even though he was in danger.

“Col Gaddafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue. He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties,” Zuma’s office said in a statement.

While in Libya, Zuma was taken on a tour to “see the destruction caused by the bombings and the deepening humanitarian crisis”.“The personal safety of Col Gaddafi is of concern,” the presidency said.

It said the two leaders had held “lengthy discussions” at Gaddafi’s home in Tripoli and that Zuma would report back on the talks to the African Union (AU).

“Col Gaddafi reiterated his agreement to a cease-fire and a dialogue of the Libyan people to find a political solution.

“He expressed his anger at the Nato bombings, which have claimed the lives of his son and grandchildren, and continue to cause a destruction of property and disruption of life.”

Zuma had called on Libyan leaders to enter into dialogue to find a lasting solution to end the conflict in the country.

“We will also reiterate that the AU call for Nato and other parties to respect the AU’s role in searching for a solution in the matter.”

Shortly after Zuma left Libya, international news agencies reported that Nato air strikes resumed.These were aimed at weakening Gaddafi’s militia and giving rebels a chance in their revolt against the longtime ruler.

“President Zuma reiterated the African Union peace plan, especially the need for a cease-fire on all sides to enable a political dialogue among the Libyan people to begin,” said the presidency. 

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