News / Africa

Libya Crisis Prompts Call for Extraordinary AU Summit in May

African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping arrives to address media before making a statement on Libya to students, in Paris, March 24, 2011
African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping arrives to address media before making a statement on Libya to students, in Paris, March 24, 2011

The African Union will hold an extraordinary meeting of heads of state next month to examine more rapid and effective ways of responding to continental crises. Our correspondent at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa reports the summit call was prompted by concerns that the organization is being sidelined as big powers dictate solutions to African conflicts.  

Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo opened a special session of the AU Peace and Security Council Tuesday with a warning. She said recent events in Libya have shown the African Union must move quickly to take the lead when crises break out or risk being left out of conflict resolution processes.

"You are all aware about the perception by different actors, media in particular, that Africa, especially the African Union, has been absent or irrelevant in the management of the crisis in Libya," said Louise Mushikiwabo.

Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told the meeting non-Africans had hijacked the Libya peace process and sidelined an AU road map that calls for an immediate ceasefire.

"The pursuit of other agendas in Libya by non-African actors has had an impact on the implementation of the AU Road Map," said Ramtane Lamamra. "Attempts have been made to marginalize an African solution to the crisis."

Amid reports of renewed western pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and fighting on several fronts, Lamamra warned that the conflict appears to be sliding toward stalemate. He said it is time for the big powers to back the Road Map for peace.

"We expect others to move toward our position," he said. "This being an African problem, we believe there is a need for an African solution, and therefore we think that our partners should make the effort to understand the African solution and help us to implement it."

The meeting ended with a call for an extraodinary AU summit next month on security issues, with an emphasis on Libya.  Libya’s Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi, who traveled to Addis Ababa for the meeting, voiced support for the summit and for greater AU involvement to, in his words, "face the external forces that aggress against us".

Libyan rebel representatives earlier rejected the AU Road Map because it does not explicity call for the removal of Moammar Gadhafi. But rebel representative Abdallah Zubedi said Tuesday the anti-Gadhafi forces are moving toward  accepting  the idea of a greater African role in peace efforts.

Zubedi, a former Libyan ambassador to South Africa, told VOA he sees a growing acceptance by all sides that Colonel Gadhafi must go as part of any political settlement.

"Mr. Gadhafi must step down," said Zubedi. "That is I think also everybody agrees directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, that the regime must come to an end."

AU officials say planning for the extraordinary summit would start Wednesday. The exact date is not set, but Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the meeting is  an urgent priority in what she called "making sure the Libyan people stop dying".

You May Like

Video Getting to Zero AIDS Infections

More than 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV, a disease that is both preventable and treatable

Children, Childhoods Lost in European Refugee Crisis

According to UNICEF, 190,000 children applied for political asylum in Europe in the first 9 months of this year - twice as many as last year

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

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

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs