AU says non-Africans sidelining Libya peace plan

The African Union on Tuesday accused Western nations of undermining its efforts to find a homegrown solution to the Libya conflict and said the civil war was in danger of becoming a stalemate.

Libya's foreign minister Abdelati Obeidi and representatives for the rebels have been meeting separately with AU officials in the Ethiopian capital since Monday to discuss an end to the war in the north African nation.

"I would like to point out that the pursuit of other agendas in Libya, by non-African actors, has had an impact on the implementation of the AU roadmap," Ramtane Lamamra, AU's Commissioner for Peace and Security, told AU foreign ministers.

"Attempts have been made to marginalise an African solution to the crisis, specifically the timely implementation of the AU roadmap in a way that is fully consistent with and complementary to U.N. Security Council resolutions," he said in an open session.

The war has split the oil producer, Africa's fourth biggest, into a government-held western area round the capital Tripoli and an eastern region held by ragged but dedicated rebels.

The AU has rejected any form of outside intervention and proposed a solution that calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities followed by a transitional period and political dialogue.

The rebels rejected the plan earlier this month, saying any settlement must include the departure of Muammar Gaddafi and his sons. The Libyan leader has vowed to fight to the death.

Gaddafi is one of the AU's most influential members, both ideologically and financially.

As chair of the bloc in 2009, he pushed for closer integration of member states, and he has been paying membership fees for several small countries who subscribe to the group.

"The imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya and aerial bombardment by the coalition, and now by NATO, have not brought a solution to the crisis," Lamamra said.

"In fact, the military situation on the ground seems to be sliding into a stalemate."

The AU does not have a good track record in brokering peace deals, having failed recently to end conflicts or disputes in Somalia, Madagascar and Ivory Coast.

[Source: By Aaron Maasho, Reuters, Addis Ababa, 26Apr11]

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