African Union praises Ghaddafi "reform offer".

African Union praises Ghaddafi "reform offer"

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra and African Commission chief Jean Ping

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra (l) and African Commission chief Jean Ping (r)

© US govt

14 March - The African Union (AU) has come out in support of Libya's Ghaddafi regime, opposing any military action against the regime and praising its "readiness" for "political reforms."

The surprise move comes after an ongoing meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Council, which is discussing the situation in Côte d'Ivoire and Libya. Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa was present in the meeting, as Libya is a current member of the Council.

Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, this morning announced the results of the meeting. While there were some vague statements over the AU's "deep concern" over the situation in Libya and a condemnation of the "disproportionate use of force," the resolution was tainted by Foreign Minister Koussa's defence of the Ghaddafi regime.

The statement for the most read out like a speech by the Ghaddafi family. The AU, it was learnt, was committed to the "respect of the unity and territorial integrity of Libya," following allegations by the Ghaddafi regime that the rebels were "separatists". No other source has made such allegations.

Equally in total support of the Ghaddafi regime and contrary to the expressed desire of the rebel government in Benghazi, the AU said it was firm in "its rejection

AU Peace and Security Council meeting 10 March 2011

AU Peace and Security Council meeting 10 March 2011

of any form of foreign military intervention." The strong statement could only be interpreted as an AU rejection of a no-fly zone in Libya.

Finally, in a passage that would shock most Libyans and in direct reference to Saif al-Islam Ghaddafi, the AU Peace and Security Council says it takes "note of the readiness of the government of Libya to engage in the path of political reforms." In continuation, Mr Lamamara expressed "the solidarity of the AU with Libya."

The statement cannot be read in any other way than an AU support for the Ghaddafi regime staying in power while some "democracy, political reforms" are decreed by the Ghaddafi family with the population at gunshot.

The resolution comes in what analysts have called a "shameful year" for the African Union, following its election of Teodoro Obiang Nguema as its chairman earlier this year. Mr Obiang since 1979 is the President of Equatorial Guinea and considered one of the world's worst dictators. At home, he has prohibited any media reports about the North African revolutions.

President Obiang this morning arri

Libya Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa

Libya Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa

ved AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, shortly after the statement on Libya was made. It is believed that the AU chairman will use his stay in Addis Ababa to coordinate an AU campaign against foreign intervention in Libya, and in particular the establishment of a no-fly zone.

The AU resolution indeed could have an impact on developments in Libya. The UN Security Council currently is split on a possible no-fly zone over Libya, which would imply a limited military intervention. France and Britain have strongly promoted such an intervention, with other Western countries somewhat cooler but not completely against the idea.

Russia and China, two veto powers at the Council, have for now turned down the proposal, however saying that a strong desire for a no-fly zone by the Arab League, European Union and African Union would mean that China and Russia would not veto such a decision.

The Arab League seems favouring a no-fly zone. But the AU, under direct influence of the Libyan Foreign Minister, now may have put an end to international efforts to implement a UN-led no-fly zone.

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