AU Could Have Saved Lives In Libya – Zuma

Many lives could have been saved if the African Union had been allowed to carry out its initiatives on Libya, President Jacob Zuma said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“Those who have the power to bomb other countries have undermined the AU’s efforts and initiatives to handle the situation in Libya,” Zuma said at a press conference at Tuynhuys after a meeting with Ghana President John Atta Mills.

“The situation in Libya has been of concern as it has been accompanied by the undermining of the African continent’s role in finding a solution.

“We could have avoided a lot of loss of life in Libya.”

Zuma said powerful nations had abused the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 “to further interests other than to protect civilians and assist the Libyan people”.

Libyan rebels have declared the era of leader Muammar Gaddafi over after storming the capital Tripoli at the weekend. One of Gaddafi’s sons however, has insisted that the battle for the country will continue.

The AU Peace and Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa on Thursday and Friday would deliberate on the “unfolding situation” in Libya, Zuma said.

“We will look at the situation and take action, but that does not stop individual countries from taking decisions,” he said.

“The AU position has been the most logical one. It still has room in the situation right now.”

The future of Libya had to be determined by its people, Zuma said.

“Don’t expect the AU to take up arms and fight,” he said.

Atta Mills said Ghana was studying the situation in Libya and would take a decision on what was in the best interests of the nation before deciding on whether to endorse the country’s interim government.