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Africa Union summit on Libya opens in Ethiopia

posted 26 Aug 2011, 06:55 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 26 Aug 2011, 06:56 ]

African leaders call for a swift resolution to the Libyan crisis at an African Union summit in Ethiopia.

A meeting of African Union (AU) leaders at the organisation's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia opened on Friday (August 26) to discuss possibilities of finding a solution to the crisis in Libya.

Addressing the meeting, the South African President Jacob Zuma said the organisation wanted to see a quick resolution to the crisis.

"We are certainly concerned about the developments. We believe there must be a swift movement to resolve the situation in Libya and we will be discussing that and of course emerge with the kind of positions the summit is going to take," he said.

Zuma spearheaded an AU mediation effort in Libya but two personal visits to Libya by the South African leader this year failed to produce meaningful results.

Only a handful of the continent's 54 countries have recognised the rebel National Transitional Council of Libya (NTC).

United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Asha-Rose Migiro called for the continent to come together and come up with a lasting solution for the country.

"Together, we must unite in helping Libya to build a sustainable peace and to make a smooth and inclusive transition to democracy. Together, we must encourage the new leadership to undertake every effort to protect civilians and public institutions to maintain law and order, and to promote national reconciliation and unity. And to do so, we must help the country's new leaders to establish an effective legitimate government, a government that represents and speaks for all the country's diverse people, and a government that can deliver on its people's hopes," she said..

AU backing of the NTC, which has declared itself the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people, would bolster a group already recognised by more than 40 countries as the governing body of Libya.

Gaddafi was one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the AU.

The AU has proposed a road map for a change in leadership in Libya that has been mostly overlooked by Western powers -- a snub that analysts said has angered many African states with long ties to Gaddafi.