News / Africa

Libya Ceasefire Contingency Talks Highlight AU Dilemma

A rebel fighter carries ammunition while advancing in pursuit of forces loyal to Maammar Gadhafi some 120 km (75 miles) east of Sirt in eastern Libya, March 28, 2011
A rebel fighter carries ammunition while advancing in pursuit of forces loyal to Maammar Gadhafi some 120 km (75 miles) east of Sirt in eastern Libya, March 28, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

The African Union (AU) will host several members of the international Libya contact group Thursday, with the goal of establishing a mechanism to enforce a ceasefire once the fighting ends. The ceasefire talks showcase the AU's struggle to remain relevant as it pursues a Libya policy at cross-purposes with the majority of the international community.

Thursday’s meeting at AU headquarters is seen as technical. Unlike the high-powered ministerial gathering in London on Monday, this meeting will attract mostly Addis Ababa-based representatives of the European Union, the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Arab League for talks on a Libya ceasefire mechanism.

With pictures of Tomahawk missiles and burning battle tanks flashing across television screens, it is hard to guess when, or if, talk of ceasefire monitoring might move up the agenda. But such is the African Union’s quandary as it tries to keep up the appearance of cooperating with the international community while accepting the reality that Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya is among its most forceful members.

Africa’s dilemma is exemplified by AU opposition to military action against Libya, even as all three African members of the United Nations Security Council voted for the resolution authorizing such action. The African Union was conspicuous by its absence at the London Conference this week, as it was at the Paris conference earlier in the month.

In a telephone interview, AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni said Africa’s views have been given scant attention as the international community pushes ahead with its military action against pro-Gadhafi forces.

"AU does not support any external military intervention in Libya. Consistent with this position, [Chairman Ping] did not attend the Paris conference which preceded commencement of air strikes, and even on this Paris conference we have been ignored. Nobody came from EU or the organizer, the French government to ask and talk to us while they send envoys to Cairo to meet the Arab League secretary general," said the spokesman.

In an attempt to establish itself as a mediator, the AU Peace and Security Council drew up what it called a "road map for peace in Libya." It includes appointment of a panel of five heads of state and AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping to open a dialogue between the warring parties.

But the panel, and its chairman, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, were seen as close to Gadhafi. Its members were prohibited from travelling to Libya when the no-fly zone was imposed. Spokesman Mezni says the panel still hopes to work with coalition partners to take on the role of peacemaker.

"The chairperson is planning to go very soon in [the] coming days to meet partners to remind them it is very important, vital to travel to Libya to talk to the two parties to obtain an immediate ceasefire. Because without it we cannot talk about dialogue, and our road map was subject to consensus of the very countries at London conference," he said.

But in light of statements at the London conference calling for Gadhafi to leave, AU diplomats are wondering if their road map, and talk of dialogue and monitoring a ceasefire are still relevant. One senior AU official this week said, “It is important to complete what we are proposing." But he acknowledged that the effort appears to be going nowhere.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid