|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6555th Meeting (AM)
African Union Will Never Hide from Responsibilities in Resolving Libyan Conflict;
Time to Reach Solution Aimed at Short-, Long-Term Goals, Security Council Told
Mauritania ’s Foreign Minister Says Extraordinary Summit Had Expressed ‘Surprise
And Disappointment’ at Attempts to Marginalize Continent in Conflict’s Resolution
The African Union will never hide from its responsibilities in helping resolve the conflict in Libya and the “time was overdue to articulate a solution together” that would protect civilians, ensure a democratic transformation and promote lasting peace, the representative of a high-level panel from the organization told the Security Council today.
“We need to work urgently in the short term without forgetting what is required in the longer term,” said Hamady Ould Hamady, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mauritania. Speaking on behalf of the Union’s High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya, he described a wide range of actions taken by the Union – including a 10 March road map for resolution — as the conflict that had been tearing that country apart moved into its fourth month.
“We cannot simply be spectators to calamities that befall us,” he added, as Africa would suffer the most from the impact of the conflict. For that reason, the extraordinary Summit of the African Union held on 25 May had expressed “surprise and disappointment” at attempts to marginalize the continent in management of the conflict, particularly since the High-Level Committee was formally recognized by the Council in paragraph 2 of resolution 1973 (2011) and fell within Chapter VIII on regional arrangements.
Affirming that neighbouring countries, in North Africa and the Sahel-Saharan stretch, were feeling the brunt of the crisis, he said that tens of thousands of African migrant workers had to return to their countries of origin without prospects and faced with all the difficulties that those countries encountered, raising the threat of destabilization. Reports of the proliferation of arms from Libyan depots only increased those concerns, given that certain countries in the region were confronted with latent rebellions or were emerging from conflict, coupled with the presence of terrorism in certain cases.
Those threats were in addition to “the indescribable suffering inflicted upon the Libyan civilian populations, for whose protection the resolution 1973 (2011) was adopted, as well as the fate of the African immigrant workers and others desperately seeking to escape from Libya, with hundreds if not thousands already registered as dead in the sea”, he said, adding that rapid resolution of the crisis was needed to end such suffering.
The need for a political solution, for an immediate end to all attacks and abuses against civilians, for an immediate ceasefire were all reaffirmed at the Summit, he said. While reiterating the commitment of the Union to resolution 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), which authorized Member States to take actions to protect civilians in Libya, “the Summit expressed deep concern at the dangerous precedence being set by one-sided interpretations of these resolutions of the United Nations and consequences that may result for international legality”.
Only a political solution could end the conflict in the interest of the Libyan people, he added, noting that the Union’s Peace and Security Council had firmly condemned the use of violence against demonstrators and had early on launched an appeal to the Libyan authorities to ensure the protection of their populations.
Consequently, the African Union’s road map — which prescribed immediate cessation of hostilities, facilitation of humanitarian aid, protection of foreigners and political reform — was intended to allow Libyans to fulfil their political aspirations and had no inclination to support any one given party, he clarified.
Recounting the actions of the High-Level Ad Hoc Committee in support of those goals, he underlined that the Chair of the Committee had been in constant touch with Committee members, as well as the Libyan parties and international partners. In addition, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, with the agreement of the Committee, had visited Libya and discussed with Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi ways and means to rapidly bring the crisis to an end. At the May Summit, Libyan Government representatives presented their ideas for the implementation of the road map.
It was with that conviction, he said, that the Union would pursue its active efforts to help bring about a political solution, including participating in the meeting scheduled for Cairo on 18 June to formulate a joint Action Plan for peace in Libya between five international organizations. The next Assembly of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, would move the issue forward in light of the latest developments.
Closing, he said the African Union’s actions were driven by the aspirations of the Libyan people, as well as the legitimate concerns of the countries in the region. It would be a loyal and efficient partner to the United Nations, in particular to the Security Council, and would serve as a faithful and attentive friend to the people of Libya under all circumstances.
The meeting was opened at 11 a.m. and closed at 11:20 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record