The PJ Tatler

Head of African Union: UN blocked mediation efforts in Libya

In an interview with the French-language magazine of African affairs Jeune Afrique, the head of the Commission of the African Union, Jean Ping, has said that an African Union (AU) delegation attempting to mediate between the warring parties in Libya was denied authorization to visit the country by the UN Security Council. The five-member delegation was scheduled to visit the Libyan capital Tripoli on March 20 and Benghazi, the capital of the rebellion, on March 21. The bombing of Libya by coalition forces began on March 19.

Nonetheless, according to Ping, the members of the AU delegation requested permission from the UN Security Council to pursue their mission anyway and were refused. Ping told Jeune Afrique that the Security Council refused the request “because it [the trip] would have been too dangerous.”

More generally, on the AU’s opposition to the Western-led “humanitarian” intervention in Libya, Ping explained,

We have already experienced this type of intervention. Remember Somalia. President Siad Barré was overthrown in 1991. Then the UN operation Restore Hope occurred. And then what? The international community came in and it ran away. For twenty years now, Africa has been left to face the problem of Somalia alone.

Ping noted that Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi had accepted the four-point “road map” for resolving the crisis proposed by the African Union. “But for there to be a cessation of hostilities,” he added, “the other side has also to stop fighting.”

(Note: The interview with Jean Ping was conducted on March 24 and appears in the current issue of Jeune Afrique. It is not available online.)