SA, AU recognise Libya's interim administration
Libya's new flag flew at the United Nations yesterday for the first time since Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow - and the African Union has recognised the National Transitional Council as Libya's de facto government.
The pan-African body, which has frequently been criticised for its ponderous reaction to events on its doorstep, said it was ready to support the council in its efforts to build an inclusive government. It also urged the council to protect African migrant workers following reports of black Africans being targeted by militia units hunting down mercenaries loyal to Gaddafi.
South Africa, the continent's pre-eminent economic power, which has a major say in AU policy, said yesterday it would also recognise the NTC, ending a long-standing relationship with the ousted leader.
"The South African government, hereby announces that it recognises the NTC as the representative of the Libyan people as they form an all-inclusive transitional government that will occupy the Libyan seat at the African Union," the International Relations and Co-operation Department said.
President Jacob Zuma, who has led AU delegations trying to broker a peace deal for Libya, has previously criticised the European Union and Nato for using force to bring about change in Libya and has called for Gaddafi's officials to be a part of a transitional government.
In his address to the high level meeting on Libya at the UN yesterday, Zuma said South Africa supports "the international post-conflict reconstruction, reconciliation and rebuilding efforts to assist the Libyan people in turning a new leaf from this conflict".
Calling for an end to the UN-imposed no-fly zone, Zuma said the immediate challenge was for a peaceful conclusion to the conflict, which must include a cessation of hostilities and an end to the Nato military campaign.
"The UN, working with relevant regional organisations and member states, should partner with the new Libyan authorities and all other Libyan stakeholders towards the goal of an end to their conflict, the early establishment of an all-inclusive national unity government and the post-conflict development of their country," he added.