21 October 2011

Libya: AU Invites New Leaders to 'Take Seat'

Photo: Nkosana Dlamini
File photo: Libyans celebrate Gaddafi's fall in Zimbabwe

The African Union has invited new Libyan leaders to take up their seat at the continental organisation.

The council extended the invitation during it's emergency meeting on Libya at the AU Addis Ababa headquarters Thursday.

The meeting was convened after the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) announced the capture and the subsequent killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which marked the end of his 42-year rule.

A statement from AU said in part that the pan-African organisation had decided "to authorise the current authorities in Libya to occupy the seat of Libya in the AU and its organs".

AU had established a panel of five African leaders to negotiate a peace deal between Gaddafi and the rebels in the last six months. However, the efforts failed after the rebels rejected the AU peace plan.

The Addis-based organisation had proposed the establishment of a new government, that would include former Gaddafi officials through participatory election.

However, it faced a barrage of criticism for appearing to favour Gaddafi and for failing to react to the Libyan crisis appropriately.

Dr Jean Ping, the AU Commission chief, denied the accusations and blamed the West, under the Nato coalition, for ignoring the African Union's take on the matter.

The Thursday meeting in Addis urged the new Libya leaders to focus on stabilising and demilitarising the country to sustain peace.

AU also expressed its concern about the proliferation of weapons, which posed a direct security threat in the North Africa region.

Further, AU appealed to NTC to ensure the safety of African migrants in Libya and to guarantee their safe return to their respective homes.

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