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
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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid