President Mugabe Calls African Leaders “sellouts”

Presiden Robert Mugabe has described as “sellouts” those African countries that recognized Libya’s transitional government.

Libya’s new government led by the National Transitional Council was given full membership of the United Nations at the just ended General Assembly. The African Union also voted to recognize the NTC.

Adressing reporters Sunday on his return from the New York where he participated in the General Assembly, President Mugabe criticized African countries that recognized Libya’s NTC as ‘sellouts’ and said negotiations should be held between Libya’s NTC and the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi (pictured above with President Mugabe).

Diplomatic officials in Harare said earlier that they would recognize the transitional council if and when the African Union did so.

Last week the AU issued a statement saying that it was recognizing the NTC as the de facto government of Libya as it works to establish democracy and reconstruct.
President Mugabe indicated that Zimbabwe would not be opening diplomatic lines with the NTC anytime soon.

“We still want negotiations, inclusive negotiations between the NTC and the Gaddafi loyalists,” said the veteran leader.

He called for Libya’s leadership to negotiate with Colonel Gaddafi as a precondition for recognising it.

The president also threatened that until the talks with Gaddafi happen, Zimbabwe and African leaders would not recognise diplomatically the TNC, headed by Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

In his speech at the General Assembly in New York, President Mugabe charged that Nato had “invaded” Libya to benefit from the country’s oil.

“As far as we are concerned, the African position is that the (TNC) can only have a seat in the AU if the summit of the AU recognises that in fact they are in control,” President Mugabe told reporters in Harare.

“We will not go as far as European and Nato countries to recognise them as the absolute authority as we still want negotiations between the (TNC) and the Gaddafi loyalists,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Libyan interim prime minister has told the UN Security Council that Gaddafi is a “growing international terrorist threat”.

“Gaddafi’s battalions continue to kill innocent civilians in different regions of our country,” Mahmud Jibril, number two in the NTC, said on Monday as he praised Nato’s air strikes in Libya.

While NTC troops say they have Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte surrounded, Jibril said the deposed Libyan leader has huge assets in “money and gold”.

“He and his sons are able to move freely and this could lead to greater destabilisation until such time as Gaddafi and his accolytes are apprehended,” he told the 15-nation council.

“The simple fact that he is free and has at his disposal such wealth means that he is still able to destabilise the situation not only within my country but also in the Sahel and Sahara region,” Jibril told the council.

Jibril said that even outside Africa, Gaddafi “could return to his terrorist practices by providing arms” to militant groups.