African leaders shut out of peace effort

2011-04-30 17:06

The African Union (AU) has accused “non-African actors” of undermining its Jacob Zuma-led roadmap for peace negotiations in Libya.

“Attempts have been made to ­marginalise the African solution to the crisis,” the AU’s commissioner for peace and security, Ramtane Lamamra, said this week.

Addressing AU ministers of foreign affairs in Addis Ababa, Lamamra said the pursuit of “other ­agendas” by Nato has had an impact on the timely implementation of the roadmap introduced by President Jacob Zuma to Muammar Gaddafi in the besieged Libyan leader’s ­compound in Tripoli on April 10.

At the time, Zuma said Gaddafi had accepted the roadmap, which ­included a ceasefire and made ­provisions for peace talks between the ­warring parties. No verification of Zuma’s statement has as yet been forthcoming from the Gaddafi camp.

Zuma did not travel to rebel-held Benghazi to personally present the roadmap to the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC), now recognised by Nato as the only legitimate Libyan interlocutory in the ­crisis. The TNC rejected the AU ­proposal out of hand.

Since then, there has been no sign of a ceasefire and fighting in Libya has escalated. Hundreds of rebels, civilians and members of Gaddafi’s army have been killed in Misratah, Libya’s second-largest city. The very building in which the AU presented its peace plan to Gaddafi has been flattened in a Nato airstrike.

On Thursday, the civil war took a new turn when Gaddafi forces fired mortar bombs into Tunisia at a border post between the two countries. Tunisian authorities immediately accused Gaddafi of committing an “act of war”.

Lamamra said: “The fighting in Libya has far-reaching consequences, especially given the important role that the country has been ­playing in the implementation of the African Agenda.”

AU commission chair Jean Ping echoed Lamamra’s concerns, ­saying: “The situation in Libya is very, very serious...we are just ­trying to get out from the situation.” He added that there was no military ­solution to the crisis.

Lamamra warned that the AU was facing serious security issues ­arising from non-compliance by member states on decisions taken by the African body.

He said: “Regarding the deployment of AU peace efforts, wherever circumstances demand it on the continent, there is an imperative to inject more African funding. Africa needs to be assertive and to make its solutions work on the ground.

“This is one practical way of ­ensuring the effectiveness of ­African solutions to African ­problems. ­Recently, we have ­witnessed ­partners fatigue manifestations and even attempts by some to marginalise African efforts to ­resolve African conflicts.”

Lamamra also warned that the ­continent is witnessing an increase in election-related and governance-linked crises.

“This trend must be arrested ­before it reaches unmanageable ­proportions. The deepening of ­democracy and improving political and economic governance could ­significantly contribute to our efforts to prevent conflicts on the continent,” said Lamamra.

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