News / Africa

AU Commission Chief Says Gadhafi Forces Must Accept Defeat

African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping addresses an emergency summit of the AU Peace and Security Council in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 26, 2011
African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping addresses an emergency summit of the AU Peace and Security Council in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 26, 2011

African Union Commission chief Jean Ping says loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya must accept defeat and stop fighting. Ping is urging Gadhafi to “understand” that his opponents have taken power, and to act in order to avoid further bloodshed.

As fears mounted Monday for the fate of thousands of prisoners of the Gadhafi government, the AU Commission chairman called on both sides to halt the killing.

“[It] is not necessary to revenge, [not] necessary to continue the killing. A cessation of hostilities, because it’s over," said Ping. "The TNC has taken the power, and Gadhafi should understand, and TNC should also not continue. Both camps should stop the killings because they are now [unnecessary]. One camp has been defeated, another [has] won.”

Three days after the African Union resisted calls to recognize the TNC as Libya’s legitimate authority, Ping said the anti-Gadhafi forces would be welcomed once they form an inclusive government. He said the term “inclusive” does not mean including Gadhafi himself.

"The seat is waiting for you in the African Union, the seat is waiting for you, for the new Transitional Authorities. What we are asking from them is a few things, assurances, that this will be inclusive," said Ping. "Inclusive has never meant for us bringing Gadhafi there. We are saying inclusive and consensual, which means it should reflect the whole Libya."

The AU Commission chief did, however, express concern about reports that anti-Gadhafi forces consolidating control of Libya have been killing black Africans suspected of having fought as pro-Gadhafi mercenaries.

"The TNC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries. All blacks are mercenaries. If you do that, 1/3 of the population of Libya, which is black, are also mercenaries. They are killing people. Normal workers. Mistreating them," said Ping.

Ping’s latest comments appeared to be in response to a storm of criticism after an AU Peace and Security summit rejected international calls to recognize the TNC. Several diplomats said the pan-African body appeared to be siding with the crumbling Gadhafi government.

The Peace and Security summit’s decision came even as 20 of the 54 AU countries recognized the TNC, prompting critics to charge that the Peace and Security Council is stacked with countries with close ties to Gadhafi.

Libya continues to hold a seat on the Peace and Security Council, although Tripoli’s ambassador, Ali Abdallah Awidan, last week switched sides, and now supports the TNC. He called the summit’s decision a “temporary setback."

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