June 2011, Week 4


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Wed, 22 Jun 2011 21:34:12 -0400
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Cuba Reiterates Need for Cease-Fire in Libya

Prensa Latina 
June 22, 2011


United Nations

Cuba on Wednesday reiterated its call for an immediate
halt to military operations in Libya and for the start
of a dialogue, so that the Libyan people can peacefully
solve their differences without foreign intervention.

  The NATO bombings of Libya "are killing the very
  civilians they are supposed to protect," said Rodolfo
  Benitez, the Cuban alternate representative to the

Benitez spoke during a General Assembly session that
passed a resolution on strengthening the role of
mediation for peaceful conflict resolution and

In Libya, NATO is unjustifiably using its most modern,
deadly weapons, without having exhausted diplomatic
channels or other peaceful means, Benitez said. War,
confrontation, hostility and sanctions never have and
never will be the way to preserve international peace
and security, the Cuban diplomat said, highlighting the
importance of dialogue and negotiations.

Neutrality, equality, impartiality and the full consent
of all parties involved are basic conditions for
effective mediation, which must respect international
law and the UN Charter, Benitez said, emphasizing the
principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and
non-intervention in internal affairs.

He also warned that no peaceful conflict resolution
method would be successful "as long as certain states
continue using or threatening to use force against the
territorial integrity or political independence of

Benitez described as unacceptable "the growing tendency
of the Security Council to rush to threaten coercive
action or to authorize it in certain cases, while
remaining silent, indifferent and inactive in others."


African Union Statement on the NATO Invasion of Libya

    It's Time to End the Bombing and Find a
    Political Solution in Libya

By Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda

Carried by CounterPunch 
June 22, 2011


   At a meeting between the UN Security Council and the
   African Union High Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya
   on June 15, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda's Permanent
   Representative to the United Nations gave the
   African Union's stand on NATO's invasion of Libya.

Mr. President,

1 . Thank you for organising this interactive dialogue.
It is good that the United Nations Security Council has
met the African Union (AU) Mediation Committee (High-
Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya) so that we can
exchange views on the situation in Libya in a candid
manner. This should have happened much earlier because
Libya is a founding member of the AU.

An attack on Libya or any other member of the African
Union without express agreement by the AU is a
dangerous provocation that should be avoided given the
relaxed international situation in the last 20 years
since the release of Nelson Mandela from jail and the
eventual freedom of South Africa.

2. The UN is on safer ground if it confines itself on
maintaining international peace and deterring war among
member states.

3 . Intervening in internal affairs of States should be
avoided except where there is proof of genocide or
imminent genocide as happened in Rwanda or against the
Jews in Germany and the European countries that were
occupied by the Third Reich.

4. There are differences on the issue of Libya as to
whether there was proof of genocide or intended
genocide. Fighting between Government troops and armed
insurrectionists is not genocide. It is civil war.

It is the attack on unarmed civilians with the aim of
exterminating a particular group that is genocide - to
exterminate the genes of targeted groups such as the
Jews, Tutsis, etc. It is wrong to characterise every
violence as genocide or imminent genocide so as to use
it as a pretext for the undermining of the sovereignty
of States.

Certainly, sovereignty has been a tool of emancipation
of the peoples of Africa who are beginning to chart
transformational paths for most of the African
countries after centuries of predation by the slave
trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

Careless assaults on the sovereignty of African
Countries are, therefore, tantamount to inflicting
fresh wounds on the destiny of the African peoples. If
foreign invasions, meddlings, interventions, etc, were
a source of prosperity, then, Africa should be the
richest continent in the world because we have had all
versions of all that: slave trade, colonialism and neo-
colonialism. Yet, Africa has been the most wretched on
account of that foreign meddling.

5. Whatever the genesis of the intervention by NATO in
Libya, the AU called for dialogue before the UN
resolutions 1970 and 1973 and after those Resolutions.

Ignoring the AU for three months and going on with the
bombings of the sacred land of Africa has been high-
handed, arrogant and provocative. This is something
that should not be sustained.

To a discerning mind, such a course is dangerous. It is
unwise for certain players to be intoxicated with
technological superiority and begin to think they alone
can alter the course of human history towards freedom
for the whole of mankind. Certainly, no constellation
of states should think that they can recreate hegemony
over Africa.

6. The safer way is to use the ability to talk, to
resolve all problems.

7 . The UN or anybody acting on behalf of the UN must
be neutral in relation to the internal affairs of
states. Certainly, that should be the case with respect
to African countries. The UN should not take sides in a
civil war. The UN should promote dialogue, peaceful
resolution of conflicts, and help in enforcing
agreements arrived at after negotiations such as the
agreement on the Sudan.

8. Regardless of the genesis of the Libyan problem, the
correct way forward now is dialogue without pre-
conditions. The demand by some countries that Col.
Muammar Gadaffi must go first before the dialogue is
incorrect. Whether Gadaffi goes or stays is a matter
for the Libyan people to decide. It is particularly
wrong when the demand for Gadaffi's departure is made
by outsiders. 9 . In order for dialogue, without pre-
conditions, to take place, we need a ceasefire in place
that should be monitored by the AU troops among others.
This will help the AU to confirm the veracity of the
stories of Gadaffi killing civilians intentionally.

10 . That dialogue should agree on the way forward in
the direction of introducing competitive politics.
Gadaffi thinks he has the most democratic system in the
world of people's authority, elected local committees.
Since so much chaos in Libya has emerged on the issue,
Gadaffi should see the wisdom of accepting competitive

Gadaffi cannot ignore the fact that the rebels took
over Benghazi and his authority melted away before NATO
came in to confuse the picture. The pre- NATO uprising
in Benghazi was, mainly, internal. Gadaffi may say that
they were organised by Al Qaeda. Even if that is so, it
is a fact that some Libyans in Benghazi threw out
Gadaffi's authority. Therefore, Gadaffi must think of
and agree to reforms, resulting into competitive

11 . A transitional mechanism could, then, be worked
out and competitive elections would take place after an
agreed timetable.

12 . What about security for the opposition members? We
have plenty of experience on such issues. What did we
do in Burundi? We provided a protection force (a
brigade) for the Hutu leaders who were living outside
Burundi or were in the bush. One of them is now the
President of Burundi after winning democratic

13. How about those who are alleged to have committed
war crimes - including Gadaffi and the rebels? Again,
our decision in Burundi is useful here. We used the
concept of "immunite provisoire" (provisional
immunity), for all the stakeholders so that they could
participate in the dialogue. After peace is realised,
then a Truth and Reconciliation body could be set up to
look into these matters. After democratic elections,
trials of guilty parties can take place.

14. Long-term safety of everybody can be ensured by
security sector reform and especially reform of the
army, so that it takes orders from any elected

15 . The intervention in Libya was premised on the
basis of protecting civilians and preventing further
civilian deaths. However, the humanitarian situation in
Libya remains serious and continues to get worse with
continued hostilities. Looking at how resolutions 1970
and 1973 are being implemented, the international
community and the United Nations in particular, are
being severely put to the test, as what is happening in
Libya will undermine future efforts of the UN in the
protection of civilians. There is, therefore, no need
for any war-like activities in Libya because there is a
peaceful way forward.

There has been no need for these war activities, ever
since Gadaffi accepted dialogue when the AU mediation
Committee visited Tripoli on April 10, 2011. Any war
activities after that have been provocation for Africa.
It is an unnecessary war. It must stop.

16. The story that the rebels cannot engage in dialogue
unless Gadaffi goes away does not convince us. If they
do not want dialogue, then, let them fight their war
with Gadaffi without NATO bombing. Then, eventually, a
modus vivendus will emerge between the two parties or
one of them will be defeated. The attitude of the
rebels shows us the danger of external involvement in
internal affairs of African countries.

The externally sponsored groups neglect dialogue and
building internal consensus and, instead, concentrate
on winning external patrons. This cannot be in the
interest of that country. Mobutu's Congo as well as
performance of all the other neo-colonies of Africa in
the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and their eventual collapse in
the 1990s prove that foreign sponsored groups are of no
value to Africa.

17 . It is essential that the UN Security Council works
with the African Union to ensure that a ceasefire is
immediately established with an effective and
verifiable monitoring mechanism and dialogue embarked
upon, leading to a political process including
transitional arrangements and the necessary reforms.
The crisis in Libya requires a political solution and
not a military one; and the AU Road Map is the most
viable option.

Finally, what is needed on the issue of Libya is a
genuine partnership between the United Nations Security
Council and the African Union. By working together we
can find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya.

I thank you.

Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is Uganda's Permanent
Representative to the United Nations.


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