Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

African Union calls for Libya poll

The African Union has called for a transition period in Libya that would lead to democratic elections.

The statement is a rare rebuke from African leaders for Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

A Libyan government delegation is meeting in Ethiopia with five African heads of state who plan to develop a road map to encourage political reform in the North African country.

It could not immediately be confirmed if Libyan rebels were also attending.

African Union (AU) commission chairman Jean Ping said in an opening speech that the AU favours an inclusive transitional period that would lead to democratic elections.

Mr Ping stressed the inevitability of political reforms in Libya and called the aspirations of the Libyan people "legitimate." He said the international community needed to agree on a way forward.

The statement calling for a transition toward elections is the strongest Libya-related statement to come out of the AU since the Libya crisis began, and could be seen as a strong rebuke to a leader who has long been well regarded by the continental body.

Libya is one of the largest donors to the AU, and in 2009 Col Gaddafi was given the AU's rotating, one-year chairmanship.

Gaddafi was also instrumental in the formation of the AU in 2002, and used Libya's oil wealth to fund the transformation of the old Organisation of African Unity into the present-day African Union.

He often has attended AU summits flanked by a coterie of extravagantly dressed men who call themselves the "traditional kings of Africa" and describe Col Gaddafi as the lead king.


From Belfast Telegraph