19 March 2011
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African Union (Addis Ababa)

Meeting of the AU High-Level Ad Hoc Committee On Libya

press release

Nouakchott — 1.  The African Union (AU) High-Level ad hoc Committee on Libya, established by the 265th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), held in Addis Ababa, on 10 March 2011, at the level of Heads of State and Government, met in Nouakchott, on 19 March 2011. The meeting was attended by Their Excellencies Presidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania; Denis Sassou Nguesso, of the Republic of Congo; Amadou Toumani Touré, of the Republic of Mali; and the Ministers representing Their Excellencies Yoweri Museveni, Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, and President of the Republic of Uganda, as well as by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Jean Ping.

2. The meeting provided an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of views on the situation in Libya, as well as on the modalities for the implementation of the mandate of the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee, which consists of the following: (i) to engage with all the parties in Libya and continuously assess the evolution of the situation on the ground; (ii) to facilitate an all inclusive dialogue between the Libyan parties on the appropriate reforms to be carried out; and (iii) to engage AU's partners, in particular the League of Arab States (LAS), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations, to facilitate coordination of efforts and seek their support for the early resolution of the crisis.

3. The members of the High-Level ad hoc Committee noted that their meeting was taking place at a critical moment in the situation in Libya, marked by the continuation of fighting, with the resulting serious humanitarian consequences, as well as by the commencement of the implementation of the relevant provisions of resolution 1973(2011), adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 17 March 2011, which, among others, imposes a no-fly zone over Libya. The Committee noted that the said resolution acknowledged the role of the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee on Libya in facilitating a dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution.

4. In this context, the High-Level ad hoc Committee reiterated AU's deep concern at the prevailing situation and its humanitarian consequences. It stressed the serious threat that this situation poses for peace, security and stability in the region as a whole.

5. The High-Level ad hoc Committee reaffirmed AU's conviction on the need for an urgent African action revolving around the following elements: (i) the immediate cessation of all hostilities; (ii) the cooperation of the concerned Libyan authorities to facilitate the diligent delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy populations; (iii) the protection of foreign nationals, including African migrant workers living in Libya; and (iv) the adoption and implementation of political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis. In this regard and building on the PSC communiqué of 10 March 2011, the meeting reaffirmed the legitimacy of the aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy, political reform, justice, peace and security, as well as socio-economic development, and the need to ensure that these aspirations are fulfilled in a peaceful and democratic manner.

6. The members of the High-Level ad hoc Committee expressed their regret of not being able, as they had envisaged, to travel to Libya, on 20 March 2011, to meet with the parties, both of which had agreed to deal with it. The Committee, in conformity with resolution 1973(2011) of the United Nations Security Council, requested the required permission for the flight carrying its members to Libya, in order to fulfill their mandate. The Committee was denied permission.

7. In order to contribute actively to the search for an early solution, consistent with international legality as reflected in relevant Security Council resolutions, the High-Level ad hoc Committee: (i) made an urgent appeal to all parties concerned, namely the Government of Libya and the National Transitional Council (NTC), to observe, without any further delay, a comprehensive cessation of hostilities and to take other measures aimed at defusing tension and ensuring the protection of the civilian population. In this respect, the Committee agreed to formally and immediately communicate to the parties its urgent request to positively respond to this appeal; (ii) reaffirmed the relevance of the elements of the Roadmap articulated by the PSC and further enunciated in paragraph 5 above. It invited the Libyan authorities and the NTC to a meeting to be convened, as soon as possible, in Addis Ababa or in any other venue agreeable to the parties, to discuss this Roadmap, in particular the establishment and the management of an inclusive transitional period that would lead to political reforms meeting the aspirations of the Libyan people; (iii) requested the AU Commission to convene, in Addis Ababa, on 25 March 2011, a meeting that will bring together high representatives of the League of Arab States, the OIC, the EU and the United Nations (Secretariat and the five permanent members), as well as other partners and stakeholders, in order to agree on : (a) ways and means for an early resolution of the crisis, on the basis of the elements outlined in paragraph 5 of the present communiqué, as well as operative paragraph 2 of resolution 1973(2011), (b) a mechanism for continued consultations and concrete joint actions to be taken; (iv) decided to organise, under the aegis of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of its member countries, as well as the AU Commission, and concomitantly with the meeting referred to in paragraph 6 (iii) of the present communiqué, a regional consultation that will bring together Libya's neighbouring countries and the different partners concerned. The objective will be to promote the contribution of the neighbouring countries for an early solution, particularly in view of the threat that the present situation poses to their security and stability, as well as to their development.

8. Furthermore, the High-Level ad hoc Committee reiterated AU's appeal to Member States to provide logistic and humanitarian support to the African migrant workers wishing to leave Libya, as well as to the neighbouring countries, compelled to bear a disproportionate burden, and to the countries of origin in order to facilitate the reintegration of these migrant workers. In this regard, the Committee requested the Commission to take the necessary measures to sensitize the Member States and convene a resource mobilisation conference.

9. The High-Level ad hoc Committee reaffirms its determination to carry out its mission, in the face of the worrying developments in the situation and the recourse to an armed international intervention, calls for restraint and undertakes to spare no efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution, within an African framework, duly taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people. Against this background, the High-Level ad hoc Committee will act within the framework of its mandate and in a manner consistent with, and complementary to, resolution 1973(2011) of the United Nations Security Council. Accordingly, it appealed to the international community as a whole to provide unreserved support to its efforts.

10. The High-Level ad hoc Committee will convene its 2nd meeting soon, at a date and venue to be determined after appropriate consultations.

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