Zuma warns against military intervention in Libya

2011-03-21 13:23

President Jacob Zuma today warned against foreign military intervention in Libya, saying United Nations members may not go beyond the terms of a March 17 resolution to enforce a no-fly zone.

“South Africa recommits itself to the position of the African Union Peace and Security Council of March 10, which reaffirmed Africa’s strong commitment to the respect of the unity and territorial integrity of Libya, and underscored Africa’s rejection of any foreign military intervention, whatever its form,” he told a Human Rights Day rally in Athlone, outside Cape Town.

“The United Nations Security Council resolution should be implemented in letter and spirit by all members of the security council.

“Operations aimed at enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians should be limited to just that. They should not harm or endanger the civilians that Resolution 1973 sought to protect.”

The resolution, which South Africa supported, authorised action to protect civilians from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s troops. It has seen allied forces fire cruise missiles at his anti-aircraft systems and airfields.

The UN resolution permits “all necessary measures” short of an occupation to protect Libyan civilians.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague today refused to rule out the possibility of deploying special forces, merely saying there would be no occupation of Libya.

The ANC Youth League has criticised the South African government for backing the resolution and said foreign governments were looking to replace Gaddafi with a puppet leader and take Libya’s oil wealth.

Zuma is a part of a five-man presidential panel tasked by the African Union to negotiate in Libya.

“We believe that a peaceful and political solution based on the will of the Libyan people will guarantee long-term stability in Libya,” he said.

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