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African Union Official Urges Political Solution to Libyan Crisis

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, center, poses with the other delegates during a group photo following a meeting on how to support rebels fighting the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, at Rome's Foreign Ministry, May 5, 2011

The African Union says its roadmap for peace is the best option for settling Libya’s political crisis.

El-Ghassim Wane said the AU “is convinced that only a political solution will make it possible to promote peace in a lasting manner that will also fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people to democracy…and good governance.”

The AU plan calls for a ceasefire, and a dialogue between all Libyan parties for a solution to the crisis. It also calls for the protection of African workers in the country.

Wane said the proposal, which is geared towards achieving stability in Libya, is the basis for AU talks with both the administration of Moammar Gadhafi and the opposition National Transitional Council.

Wane also said the AU is encouraged by the rival parties’ support of its efforts to resolve the crisis. In late April, Libya’s foreign minister went to Ethiopia’s capital to discuss the peace plan with AU officials. However, rebels want any agreement to include Gadhafi’s removal from power.

Some members of the international community do as well. But, Wane said that’s an issue for the two parties decide.

“It’s not up to the AU to determine the future of Libya,” said Wane. “Our conviction is that the future of Libya should be determined by Libyans. Our role is to help Libyans to negotiate…with the view of fulfilling the aspirations of their people.”

Some experts have been critical of the AU’s roadmap deal saying it has so far been infective in resolving the almost daily violent clashes between Gadhafi loyalists and the rebels seeking to overthrow the government.

Wane acknowledged the challenges the roadmap faces but expressed confidence in the AU’s ability to help resolve the stalemate.

“We won’t relent in our efforts,” said Wane, “because it is our conviction that the only way to address in a sustainable manner the crisis in Libya is through dialogue.”

His comments came after loyalist forces intensified their shelling of towns Saturday in the country's western mountains, a stronghold of anti-Gadhafi rebels.