South Africa Denies Sending Planes for Gadhafi

Posted August 22nd, 2011 at 1:35 pm (UTC-5)
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South Africa says it has not sent planes to Libya to help embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi flee his country.

In a statement Monday, the government said it wished to dispel rumors that South African aircraft will fly Colonel Gadhafi and his family to an undisclosed location.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters that the Libyan leader has not asked for asylum in South Africa, adding that she is sure he will not do so.

Separately, officials in Zimbabwe are denying that Mr. Gadhafi could be headed to their country.

The ministry of foreign affairs in Harare said Monday there is no substance to reports that Mr. Gadhafi might find refuge in Zimbabwe.

And, a spokesman for the MDC, one of two major parties in Zimbabwe's unity government, tells VOA that the party would block any any effort to extend asylum to the Libyan leader.

A correspondent for al-Jazeera television said earlier Monday that Zimbabwe was a possible destination for Mr. Gadhafi. In 1991, Zimbabwe granted asylum to former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who still lives in the country.

Meanwhile, in Addis Ababa Monday, Libya's ambassador to the African Union declared an end to Mr. Gadhafi's rule. He also removed the Gadhafi-era flag from Tripoli's embassy in Addis, replacing it with the pre-Gadhafi flag used by rebels.

The AU Peace and Security Council met Monday to discuss the latest developments in Tripoli. African heads of state are to discuss Libya in meetings later this week.

South Africa said Monday it backs an AU roadmap that calls for a transitional Libyan government, the drafting of a new constitution, and Libya's first-ever democratic elections.