UN Chief tries to mend ties with Africa after Ivorian, Libyan crises

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, made a formal plea to African leaders gathered here Sunday for a Summit, to excuse the differences in approach to the crises in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire and mend fences for the sake of future relations.

“There were differences in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya. These were not differences of objectives or goals; our partnership is anchored in shared values. These were differences in operational and strategic approaches. This is natural, even to be expected among organisations with varied mandates and membership,” Ban said.

UN Security Council diplomats quickly sought the authorization of force in Libya, which African leaders said was used as a pretext to change the regime there, ignoring the efforts by the continental body to seek a peace roadmap, under which it managed to secure certain commitments from the regime.

The last Summit of the African Union (AU) in Equatorial Guinea was held, amid disagreements within the AU on whether the late Libyan dictator, Mouammar Kadhafi, should leave power and whether the Transitional National Council (NTC) should be recognized as the new government.

Kadhafi agreed to stay out of a future government of Libya during the negotiations, headed by the panel of five African leaders, from Mauritania, Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Uganda and South Africa, but the UN Security Council ignored the AU peace roadmap, which rejected an earlier exit of Kadhafi at the time.

“We have seen the fruits of this partnership in our work for peace in Darfur…in our common diplomatic efforts in Guinea…in our cooperation in Somalia,” Ban said.

“In dealing with the fallout from Libya in the Sahel, our combined efforts got off to a good start in the recently authorized mission in the region,” Ban added, urging the African leaders to work towards finding a common ground in the future relations with the UN.

The UN Chief particularly sought a new working relationship with the AU, saying quick responses to crises and how to enable the two organisations to deliver effectively were required.

But in remarks to journalists after the opening session of the AU Summit, Ban said the UN took measures to protect civilians in Cote d’Ivoire and denied that the institution was being used to defend western interests in Africa.

“We took measures to protect civilians in Libya. It is totally unjust criticism of the UN action in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya. A leader is defeated and refuses to hand over power and starts killing his people. Kadhafi was killing his own people. The Security Council made the necessary and relevant resolution to protect the people. The UN used the necessary force to destroy heavy weapons against the people of Cote d’Ivoire,” the UN chief said at a news conference.

The Prime Minister of the Libyan Transitional Government, Abdurrahim El-Keib, who attended the Summit for the first time since the formation of his government in November 2011, appraised the Summit on Libya’s reconstruction needs, including the need to rebuild hospitals, schools and the judiciary.

He said institutions were destroyed during the crisis in the North African nation and several people were still missing, wounded or killed as a result of the conflict there.

“We are working to restore stability, based on social justice. We will re-open schools and we will be an active partner of Africa,” Al Keib said.

He said preparations for legislative elections were already underway in the country, while a mechanism for the creation of a new constitution was also underway.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki hailed his country’s successful revolution and pledged to live up to its expectations for the sake of the country.

He also pledged to assist countries in the Maghreb region, currently facing political difficulties, including Senegal, Western Sahara and the re-admission of Morocco into the AU.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 29Jan2012

29 january 2012 15:26:00




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