Pretoria — The text of a communique released by the African Union's panel on Libya after a meeting in Pretoria on Sunday:
1. The African Union (AU) High-Level ad hoc Committee on Libya met in Pretoria, South Africa, on 26 June 2011, to discuss the developments on the situation in Libya and the next steps in the implementation of its mandate, as defined by the 265th meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU, of 10 March 2011, and reiterated by the Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa, on 25 May 2011.
2. The meeting was attended by Presidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (which chairs the Committee), Yoweri Museveni, of the Republic of Uganda, Amadou Toumani Toure, of the Republic of Mali, and Jacob Zuma, of the Republic of South Africa.
Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso, of the Republic of Congo was represented by his Minister of Foreign Affairs. The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, took part in the meeting on behalf of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Jean Ping.
3. The Committee reviewed the developments in Libya, as well as the efforts deployed towards a political solution to the conflict, since its last meeting held in Addis Ababa on the margins of the Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union. In this regard, President Jacob Zuma reported on his interactions with the Libyan Parties, including the visit he had undertaken to Libya, on 31st May 2011. The Committee also had an exchange of views on the consultations undertaken by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. In addition, the Committee took note of the interaction between a ministerial delegation of the ad hoc Committee and the Security Council in New York, on 15 June 2011. Finally, the Committee was informed of the outcome of the meeting held in Cairo, on 18 June 2011, among the Chief Executives of the AU, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations, as well as other initiatives taken by the Commission in pursuance of the relevant AU decisions.
4. The Committee reiterated AU's deep concern at the continuing fighting between the warring Libyan parties and at the NATO-led aerial bombardment. The Committee noted the dire humanitarian situation created by this situation, including loss of life among civilians, forced displacement, both within and outside Libya, shortages of basic necessities, the destruction of vital civilian infrastructure and the worsening problems faced by the African migrant workers, including the death at sea and in the desert of hundreds of them, which is compounded by the violation by some countries of the humanitarian principle of non refoulement. In addition, the Committee, once again, underlined the threats that the persistence of the current situation poses to peace and regional security.
5. The Committee reiterated the AU's conviction that only a political solution will make it possible to sustainably settle the current conflict. In this regard, it reiterated that the AU Roadmap remains a viable basis for a way out of the crisis, and welcomed the efforts made by President Zuma, with the Libyan parties and international actors as well as the outcome of the Cairo meeting of 18 June 2011, which is fully in line with the positions articulated by the AU since the beginning of the crisis.
6. In this context, the Committee agreed to continue its work towards the Libyan parties, namely the Government of the Libyan Jamahiriya and the Transitional National Council (TNC) of Libya, based on the following elements:
(i) The African Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee, in pursuant of the AU Roadmap, calls on Libyans, both the Libyan Authorities and the Transitional National Council, to commit themselves to an immediate suspension of all hostilities.
(ii) The AU High Level Ad Hoc Committee welcomes Colonel Gaddafi's acceptance of not being part of the negotiation process.
(iii) Following the suspension of hostilities, and in accordance with operative paragraph 3 (three) of UNSC Resolution 1973 and the AU Roadmap, the Libyan parties should begin the national dialogue for a comprehensive ceasefire, national reconciliation, transitional arrangements, as well as the agenda for democratic transformation.
(iv) The national dialogue would be followed by the establishment of an interim government, with the support of the AU and the UN, through the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General.
(v) These measures that we are proposing should go hand-in-hand with an equally determined humanitarian effort. In this context, we reiterate the call we made at the Extraordinary Summit of the AU of the 25th of May 2011, for the stopping of NATO bombings and the observance of a humanitarian pause.
(vi) We therefore appeal to all Libyans to heed this call to allow Africans to continue to provide Africa-owned and Africa-led solutions to our problems.
7. The Committee reaffirmed the determination of the AU to work with the various international partners, both bilateral and multilateral, to find a political solution and, in this regard, stressed the contribution that the Forum of International Organizations concerned by the crisis can make, particularly on the basis of the conclusions of the Cairo meeting of 18 June 2011. The Committee requested the Chairperson of the Commission to continue and intensify his efforts to mobilize the international community in support of the AU peace endeavor, and decided, on its part, to dispatch a ministerial delegation to some bilateral partners to facilitate a coordinated international response for the prompt settlement of the conflict.
8. The ad hoc Committee will report to the 17th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union to seek its continued support for the pursuit of its efforts. In this regard, the Committee stressed the need for unity of purpose and action among all AU Member States, to enable Africa to fully play its role in the search for a solution to the current conflict and to ensure that its position is given due consideration in the international arena.