African leaders condemn Libya airstrikes
The leaders of several African countries, including Uganda, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, as well as the African Union, have condemned the air strikes on Libya.
BBC, March 22, 2011
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has written a lengthy newspaper article accusing the West of double standards.
He was one of five African leaders tasked with finding a solution to the crisis, whose mission to Tripoli was called off when the air strikes began.
South Africa’s Jacob Zuma was also on the African Union panel.
Although South Africa voted in favour of UN resolution 1973, which authorised military action to protect civilians, Mr Zuma has also criticised the air strikes, suggesting they were part of a “regime-change doctrine”.
Western leaders have said the strikes will not target Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi but they do think he should step down.
Mr Zuma called for an immediate ceasefire and “rejected any foreign intervention, whatever its form”.
“The actions of the Western countries in Iraq and now Libya are emphasizing that might is ‘right’”
Yoweri Museveni Ugandan president
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He warned the countries taking action in Libya “they should not harm or endanger the civilians that Resolution 1973 sought to protect”.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, a long-standing critic of the West, has also condemned the air strikes, saying the conflict is really about control of Libya’s oil wealth.
Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba agreed, calling the bombardment an “interference in internal affairs of Africa”.
The African Union has also called for an end to the military intervention in Libya.
Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia said there were “contradictions” with the international community intervening in Libya but not Ivory Coast, where some 435 people have been killed and 450,000 forced from their homes over a disputed election.
Col Gaddafi enjoyed strained relations with many African leaders, who disagreed with his plans to create a United States of Africa, with a single government, currency and army.
But he was one of the biggest financial contributors to the African Union.
Col Gaddafi has been accused of hiring mercenaries from several African countries to help battle the rebels.
Many thousands of African migrants have left Libya after the anti-Gaddafi protests began in February.
In his article in the New Vision newspaper, Mr Museveni questioned why there was no military intervention to help the protesters in pro-Western Bahrain.
He also said the intervention would lead to an arms race.
“The actions of the Western countries in Iraq and now Libya are emphasizing that might is ‘right,'” he wrote.
“I am quite sure that many countries that are able will scale up their military research and in a few decades we may have a more armed world.”
Mr Museveni called for dialogue to solve the crisis.