African leaders meet in summit dogged by Libya | Pakistan Today

African leaders meet in summit dogged by Libya

African leaders sought backing for a roadmap out of the Libyan conflict at a summit Thursday where an invited delegation of Libyan rebels pushed demands that long-time leader Moamer Gaddafisteps down.
Representatives of the Libyan regime were also at the two-day summit outside the Equatorial Guinea capital which will seek consensus on the roadmap that includes a ceasefire and negotiations.
The African Union summit opened with leaders critical of France’s supply of weapons to the rebels and of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued for Gaddafifor atrocities.
They have also spoken out against a NATO-led bombing campaign against Libyan forces that is meant to protect civilians. “It is undoubtedly on this crisis that our deliberations are expected,” African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping said in his opening address to the meeting including about 30 African leaders. The African Union must bear in mind in its talks the “suffering of the Libyan people because of the continuing clashes and the air bombing operations,” he said, without referring directly to NATO. The roadmap will likely dominate a closed session of the summit later Thursday. The Libyan rebel team, invited as a special guests, said there was a wide feeling that it was time for Gaddafito leave.
“Everybody is in agreement on the departure of Kadhafi. Some say it publicly, others don’t,” France-based representative of the Transitional National Council Mansour Safy Al-Nasr told AFP. “Of course, we hope for a solution from the African Union. The roadmap is good if it is adjusted,” he said. The rebel team met ministers from Niger, Mali, Chad and Mauritania on Wednesday. “Our plan is to meet as many delegations as possible,” Al-Nasr said.
He arrived in Malabo on Wednesday with two other representatives of the council, including former Libyan foreign minister Abderaman Shalgam, as special guests of the summit. The AU roadmap has been accepted by Gaddafibut the rebels have previously rejected it, demanding the leader must step down. Representatives of the Libyan regime said they too expected support from the meeting.
After France announced Wednesday that it had air-dropped arms to anti-Gaddafirebels, Ping warned of weapons falling in to the hands of Al-Qaeda who could use them to take Western hostages, and of the conflict growing to reach the level of the one in Somalia.
Ping also criticised an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for atrocities out for Kadhafi, one of his sons and his intelligence chief. “It complicates the situation,” he said. Senior Libyan rebel leader Mahmud Jibril said in Vienna meanwhile he awaited “a clear stance” from the African Union on whether they supported or condemned Kadhafi. “These arrest warrants reflect the international conviction that massacres did take place,” Jibril told journalists. “I urge the African Union to take a clear stance,” he said.
France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud said Wednesday his country’s delivery of arms to the rebels was not in breach of a Security Council resolution that established an arms embargo to Libya, because they were for “self-defence” of civilian populations under threat from Kadhafi’s forces.
But China called on the international community “to strictly follow the spirit of the relevant resolution of the UN Security Council,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in response to a question on France’s admission.



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