Zuma and Sarkozy see eye to eye on African crises

2011-03-05 20:17

The situation in Libya is untenable and a political solution needs to be found to resolve the impasse in the Ivory Coast.

On these issues, President Jacob Zuma and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, agreed during Zuma’s two-day state visit this week – a first since becoming president.

Said Sarkozy: “The situation (in Libya) is tragic and Mr Gaddafi has to leave. It is unambiguous.”

France has deployed its navy closer to Libya for what Sarkozy called “humanitarian work”, adding that his country was opposed to military intervention.

Zuma condemned the violence.

On the standoff in Ivory Coast, Sarkozy said the French supported the work that was being conducted by the African Union-appointed team to find a solution to the impasse that has seen incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refusing to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara.

Zuma said that he was bound by the work of the African Union panel to find a solution, but emphasised that a political solution was urgently needed.

Addressing delegates at the French Institute for International Relations, Zuma said problems in Libya and Madagascar reminded the world of Africa’s challenges. He said the problems in these countries should be viewed in the broader context of political systems.

“Do you have democracies in those countries? Do people exercise their right to vote?”

Zuma said most of the leaders in the Arab countries of Africa had been in office for decades and were not prepared to leave.

“In those countries, there must be change so people can exercise their democratic right. We should have known that it (people rising against their leaders) would come. It couldn’t go on forever.”

During the two days, Zuma reminded businesses, government and the Paris City Council of the need to strengthen relations with South Africa.

He promoted South Africa as the gateway to Africa’s development and invited businesses to invest money in projects that would create jobs in South Africa.

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