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

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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid