African leaders called on Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi not to take part in talks to resolve the nation’s conflict between his forces and rebels seeking to end his four-decade long rule.
An African Union proposal adopted today said that Qaddafi shouldn’t be involved in the talks, which would decide who will be part of a political transition. The rebel National Transitional Council, based in east Libya, has previously rejected any solutions involving Qaddafi. Rebel representatives were not immediately available to comment on the AU proposals, which included a call for a cease-fire.
“The cease-fire shall be linked to, and followed by, a political process, which will commence with a consensual and inclusive transitional period,” said the resolution, which was distributed to reporters at the close of a two-day AU summit in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo. The resolution called for the transition period to end with democratic elections.
The five-month long civil war in Libya, a north African nation with the continent’s biggest oil reserves, has driven up the price of crude and spread tens of thousands of refugees throughout the region.
Demanding End to Air Strikes
The AU has lamented Western powers ignoring the continent’s own solution to the conflict, which it outlined in a March road map. The 53-member body has repeatedly demanded an end to North Atlantic Treaty Organization air strikes against Qadaffi’s fighters.
Talks to end the conflict will begin in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, “very soon,” South Africa President Jacob Zuma told reporters.
The AU requested the United Nations Security Council to lift a freeze on Libyan assets and asked for the creation of a peacekeeping force to monitor the cease-fire. Both parties should agree to an amnesty law, the AU said.
African leaders also slammed a June 27 arrest warrant against Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi and military intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi by the International Criminal Court. They decided not to cooperate with the warrant and asked the UN Security Council to annul it.
The court discriminates against Africans and has failed to indict Western leaders for incidents such as the invasion of Iraq, Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo told reporters.
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