UN Slams Door On African Presidents' Libya Trip

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[Global: Libya]

Five African presidents failed to fly to Libya this weekend in a mediation bid when they were denied waiver of the no-fly zone by the United Nations Security Council, forcing them to abort the mission.

On March 10, the African Union (AU) had formed a committee to deal with the Libyan crisis and selected five African presidents, including South Africa's Jacob Zuma, as the designated peace mediators. African officials met this weekend in Mauritania, from where they were to fly on to Tripoli.

The UN Security council turned down their request for permission to travel to Libya, Uganda's minister of foreign affairs told the East African nation's leading independent daily newspaper, The Daily Monitor.

After being denied permission to travel to Libya by the UN, the officials released a statement quoted in The Daily Monitor which in part read: “The committee, in conformity with resolution 1973(2011) of the United Nations Security Council, requested for the required permission for the flight carrying its members to Libya in order to fulfill their mandate. The committee was denied permission.”

The reference is to the African Union High Level Ad-hoc Committee on Libya (AHCL), which was formed by the AU on March 10, after a meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In addition to South Africa's Zuma, other members of the ad-hoc team are the AU Commission chairperson Jean Ping; President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda; President Dennis Sessou Ngueso of the Republic of Congo; and, President Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali.

The statement yesterday also said the AU committee regreted it could not be "able, as they had envisaged to travel to Libya, on March 20, to meet with the parties both of which had agreed to deal with it.” Uganda's Museveni was to be represented by Kutesa and Amama Mbabazi Security minister.

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