Zuma abhors Gaddafi’s human rights violations – minister

2011-03-10 12:51

President Jacob Zuma took advantage of a phone call from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to tell him that South Africa abhorred the “heinous violation of human rights against his own people”, international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said today.

Nkoana-Mashabane told a media briefing in Pretoria: “The president took advantage of that call to tell him that South Africa has led a campaign to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council in Geneva.”

South Africa had also taken the opportunity to tell Gaddafi that it “abhors the heinous human rights violations against his own people”, she said.

“We took advantage through our president to tell him this has to stop with immediate effect,” she said.

Zuma’s office yesterday refused to confirm or deny reports about what he said to the embattled Libyan leader as reported by the BBC, crediting Libyan TV.

Libyan TV quoted Zuma as calling on the African Union to “take decisive action and uncover the conspiracy that Libya is facing”.

Zuma, who is out of the country attending the African Union Security Council meeting in Ethiopia, was also quoted as “stressing the need not to depend on tendentious reports circulated by foreign media outlets and the need to listen to the Libyan media in this regard”.

His office issued a statement yesterday saying that it “would not be drawn into rumours and distortions of the conversation with Gaddafi, who had called to explain his side of the story”.

The presidency also said that Zuma had spoken out “clearly” on the Libyan issue, openly condemning the loss of life, attacks on civilians and reported violations of human rights in Libya.

Nkoana-Mashabane today emphasised that South Africa not only supported but co-sponsored all resolutions taken by the United Nations Security Council.

Nkoane-Mashabame said it was critical to also remember that it was only Zuma who followed up on any misadventure by Gaddafi, taking him to task on various occasions, as when he tried to perpetuate his idea for the passing of a resolution on a United States of Africa, and when he tried to remain a permanent president of the African Union.

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