African Union Rejects Western Military Role In Libya

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[Commentary: Libya]

As Western countries spearheaded by the United States, the U.K., and France discuss possible military action against Libya, the African Union (AU) has emphatically rejected any American or European armed involvement in Africa.

"The council reaffirms its
firm commitment to the respect of the unity and territorial integrity
of Libya, as well as its rejection of any form of foreign military
intervention," Ramtane Lamamra, the AU commissioner for peace and
security, said.

council expressed the solidarity of the AU with Libya, and stressed the
legitimacy of the aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy,
political reforms, justice, peace and security as well as economic and
social development,"
Lamamra added, giving tacit recognition that Muammar Gaddafi will have to reach some form of accomodation with the rebellion.

Libya is a
member of the African Union's peace and security council. It was
represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa.

"The AU has strongly
condemned the disproportionate use of force," said Lamamara. "The
council took note of the readiness of the government of Libya to engage
in the path of political reforms," he added.

The African Union's strong statement came today after
NATO defense ministers
who met Thursday in Brussels postponed any decision on a no-fly zone
in Libya until after the UN decided on the matter.

The AU's 15-member peace
and security council decided "to put in place a high level AU ad hoc
committee" to monitor the crisis in the north African country where
Kadhafi faces an uprising against his 41 years in power.

committee, whose members were to be announced in the near future, would
also be tasked with working towards "the immediate cessation of all
hostilities", Lamamra said.

The council expressed its "deep
concern" over the crisis in Libya which it said "poses a serious threat
to the peace and security in the country and in the region as a whole".

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