African Union Encouraged By Libyan Council Promises

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 8:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Officials from the African Union say the organization is not yet ready to recognize Libya's transitional council but that they are encouraged by promises the council has made.

A.U. officials say the National Transitional Council has given assurances to the African Union that it will protect African workers in Libya. The officials say that because of this and other commitments the council has made, they will discuss with member states the possibility of recognizing the interim leadership.

The comments came Thursday during a Paris conference on Libya's future that included representatives of 60 nations and the NTC, the political body of Libyan forces opposed to Moammar Gadhafi.

The 54-nation African Union has yet to recognize the NTC as Libya's legitimate government, although some member nations have done so individually.

So far, at least 13 African countries have recognized the NTC, including Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast.

South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday he was boycotting the conference because he was “not happy” with NATO's military intervention in the troubled country.

Speaking during a state visit to Norway, Mr. Zuma took issue with NATO's use of airstrikes after the United Nations implemented a no-fly zone in Libya.

President Zuma also charged that individual countries have taken the lead on Libya's future. He said the U.N. should be working with the African Union to create a new Libya.

Meanwhile, Kenya is denying reports that it has recognized the NTC. In a statement sent to VOA Thursday, the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the impression Kenya has recognized the NTC is not accurate. The statement said Kenya advocates political dialogue that leads to formation of an all-inclusive transitional Libyan government.

Last week, Kenya's acting foreign minister, George Saitoti, said that dialogue should be led by what he called Libya's “interim authority.”