News / Africa

Will South Africa Quickly Recognize Rebel Libyan Government?

People in Tajura, a suburb of Tripoli, celebrating in the early morning on August 22, 2011 after Libyan rebels surged into Tripoli in a final drive to oust leader Gadhafi
People in Tajura, a suburb of Tripoli, celebrating in the early morning on August 22, 2011 after Libyan rebels surged into Tripoli in a final drive to oust leader Gadhafi
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua

South Africa said Monday it will not give asylum to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Reports had circulated that Gadhafi might be offered safe haven. But the government rejected those reports.

“It is in reaction to media speculations… over the weekend when there were reports about secret talks taking place in the south of Tunisia, in Djerba. That they spotted a South African plane,” said Issaka Souare, researcher in the Africa Conflict Prevention Program at South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria.

Media had speculated that South Africa was looking for an “exit strategy” for Gadhafi.

Past relations

Before the violence, Souare said South Africa had trade relations with Libya, while leaders had their own personal relationship with the Libyan leader.

“It was a relationship that was characterized by mutual respect, but sometimes also each trying to make their position prevail. For example, Thabo Mbeki was not fond of Gadhafi’s idea for a United States of Africa, not against the principle, but against the conditions under which that could come to fruition,” he said.

Souare said Mbeki was able to “counter very skillfully the grand designs of Gadhafi.”

Nelson Mandela, when he was South African president, went to Tripoli to meet with Ghadafi in violation of sanctions by the West. Souare said this was done “in recognition of the role played by Libya in South Africa’s liberation. And that helped pave the way to the extradition to The Hague of the two Libyan nationals that were suspected of involvement in the bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in 1989.”

Rebel government

The current government of Jacob Zuma may have to decide whether to recognize the rebel movement as Libya’s new government. But Souare isn’t sure whether recognition would come quickly.

“It’s very difficult to say that, but given that the rebels as well as various Western countries ignored the position of the African Union through the panel that was set up by the AU, of which South Africa was a party, I don’t think that would be easy,” he said.

He added, “While one could argue that what happened in Tunisia and Egypt were expressions of popular sentiments, clearly in Libya it was a civil war…. And you can then conclude that what happens in Libya should Gadhafi fall forcefully is an unconstitutional change of government as per AU regulations. But one cannot be sure about what will be the position of the individual countries in the absence of a position by the African Union.”

Africa or Middle East?

While Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are on the African continent, some associate those countries more with the Middle East. Souare said in sub-Saharan Africa there’s no doubt those countries are part of the continent.

“South Africa is often frustrated at the approach of countries like [the United States] of putting North Africa as if it wasn’t part of Africa. South Africa has an approach to Africa as one, including North Africa,” he said, adding other sub-Saharan governments take the same position.

“Of course, sometimes and often in reaction to some North Africans considering themselves more Arab than Africans, then you would encounter people here and there expressing such sentiments and say North Africans are sometimes opportunists. They feel African when it is in their interests and more Arab when it’s otherwise,” he said.

He said three of the top five donors to the African Union are North African countries, including Libya. “I don’t know what’s going to be the situation now.”

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid