The AU intensifies its efforts towards a political solution in Libya and stresses the importance of the respect of the letter and spirit of resolution 1973(2011)

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Addis Ababa, 3 May 2011: As the crisis facing Libya enters its third month, the African Union (AU), through its High‐Level ad hoc Committee on the Situation in Libya and the Commission, continues to make sustained efforts towards a political solution, based on the Roadmap adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), on 10 March 2011. In this respect, contacts are continuing with a number of international partners and stakeholders to facilitate the early commencement of negotiations on a ceasefire and the other elements of the Roadmap, in particular the establishment of an inclusive transitional period, during which the necessary reforms to address the causes of the current crisis would be undertaken. Such a transition would culminate in democratic elections to enable the Libyan people to freely choose their leaders.

The AU’s efforts are driven by the conviction that, ultimately, only a political solution will make it possible to promote, in a sustainable way, the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for reform, democracy, good governance and the rule of law. In this context, a verifiable and internationally‐monitored ceasefire is key, both to creating conducive conditions for successful negotiations among the Libyan parties and also to ensuring the protection of the civilian population, which is the very purpose for which resolution 1973(2011) was adopted by the UN Security Council, and which should inform the ongoing military operations in Libya.

It is to be recalled that, as early as February 2011, the PSC condemned in the strongest terms possible the indiscriminate and excessive use of force and lethal weapons against peaceful protestors in Libya, in violation of human rights and International Humanitarian Law. Since then, the AU has regularly put the Libyan Government on notice regarding its responsibilities to protect its own population. Against this background, the AU is deeply concerned by the ever‐deteriorating situation in the city of Misrata and the resulting suffering inflicted on the local population and the African migrant workers trapped in the area. It calls on the Libyan authorities, building on their formal and unconditional acceptance of the AU Roadmap, to, immediately and unilaterally, take the required measures to alleviate the plight of the civilian population. Such steps will go a long way to facilitating the early attainment of an overall ceasefire.

The Commission reiterates the AU’s commitment to the respect of UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011), as expressed in the PSC communiqué of 26 April 2011. At the same time, it cannot but echo the PSC call on the imperative need for all countries and organizations involved in the implementation of that resolution to act in a manner fully consistent with international legality and the resolution’s provisions, whose objective is solely to ensure the protection of the civilian population. This is central for successfully promoting an international consensus on the best way forward in Libya, as well as strengthening international legality.

With the NATO‐led operation in Libya entering its sixth week, there is an increased risk of more civilian casualties, as tragically demonstrated by the bombing that resulted in the unjustified killing of the Libyan Leader’s son and grandchildren, and destruction of vital socio‐economic infrastructure. Such actions can only compound the situation. For the AU, the time has come to give way to a political process, including an immediate ceasefire, as called for in its Roadmap and relevant PSC decisions, to bring to an end the current conflict, which has claimed the lives of so many anonymous Libyans all over the country.

The AU will not relent in its efforts to bring the crisis in Libya to a swift end and help the Libyan people fulfill their legitimate aspirations. In so doing, the AU is acting in pursuance of the relevant provisions of its Constitutive Act and other AU instruments, relating to the respect of the sanctity of human life, democracy and good governance.

As part of these efforts, the Chairperson of the Commission will participate, as an invitee, in the forthcoming meeting of the Libya Contact Group, in Rome, on 5 May 2011. He will seize the opportunity to impress upon the members of the Contact Group the need to promote and implement a political solution to the Libyan crisis, and mobilize further support for AU’s efforts and Roadmap.

The AU will also seize the opportunity of the forthcoming meetings, in Addis Ababa, between its PSC, on the one hand, the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee and the UN Security Council, on the other, on 11 and 21 May 2011, respectively, to emphasize the need for a political solution and build an action‐oriented international consensus to that end.