Libyan Govt, Rebels to Hold Talks in Ethiopia
Zuma, who is also spokesman of the African Union (AU) High Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya, made the announcement at a press conference after the conclusion of the 17th AU Summit, at which the Libya issue was the hottest subject of debate, reports Xinhua news agency.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi would not attend the talks in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Zuma said, giving no more details about the arrangement.
The AU has handed its proposals to delegates of Libya’s two conflicting sides attending the AU conference, urging the two sides to follow the AU’s road map to halt hostilities and start talks immediately, Zuma said.
The South African president also lashed out at NATO’s continued aerial bombardment of Libya, which has last for more than three months under the disguise of protecting civilians in Libya.
In its peace plan, the AU suggests that the timeframe for negotiations between Libya’s government and rebels should be limited to a maximum of 30 days unless the parties to the talks decide otherwise, and that the international community should help to facilitate the process.
The AU’s proposals also include enforcing an arms embargo inside Libya till the end of the transitional period and implementing necessary reforms to meet the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, including organizing elections under international monitoring.
The 53-member bloc also urged the international community to deploy observers to the North African country, establish an efficient, reliable monitoring body and beef up humanitarian aid.
Speaking at the same press conference, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, which holds the rotating AU chair, said the Libya crisis is threatening to divide the country into two should it fail to end soon.
The AU will not accept such an outcome, he stressed, adding that the Libyan government and rebels can bring their legitimate aspirations to the table and settle their differences through consultations.
As NATO’s bombing and the fighting between government troops and rebel forces continue, Gaddafi on Friday threatened to carry out attacks in Europe if NATO does not stop airstrikes.
“We can treat you in a similar way,” the embattled Libyan leader said of NATO’s ongoing military campaign, in an audio message delivered to thousands of his supporters gathering at the main Green Square in the capital Tripoli.
The defiant leader also denounced the arrest warrants for him, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi issued Monday by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.
On the arrest warrant for Gaddafi, the AU said in Malabo that African nations will not help execute it because it “seriously complicates the efforts aimed at finding a negotiated political settlement to the crisis in Libya.”