African Leaders Vow to Support Peace in Libya
The leaders of the African Union pledged on Monday to push forward peace efforts in Libya, in a sign they want to play a greater role in resolving the continent’s conflicts.
As the 55-member group wrapped up a two-day summit in Addis Ababa, Smail Chergui, the AU's Peace and Security Council chief, offered assistance to revive Libya's faltering UN-led peace process.
"It's (the) UN itself which needs us now," Chergui said, according to AFP.
"It's time to bring this situation to an end... the two organizations should work hand in hand for that goal," he added.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over as AU chair from Egypt on Sunday, has said Libya is one of two conflicts he wants to focus on during his tenure.
The other is South Sudan, where a civil war that began in 2013 has left hundreds of thousands dead -- but talks on the sidelines of the AU summit ended in deadlock.
The AU leadership has complained about being overlooked in Libya-related peacemaking efforts, which have been led primarily by the UN and heavily involved European nations.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Saturday said he understood the AU's "frustration" at having "been put aside" when it comes to Libya.
Talks between Libya's warring factions ended on Saturday with no deal on a ceasefire. The UN has proposed a second round of negotiations for February 18.
Chergui said the AU could support peace if a cessation of hostilities agreement is finally signed, declaring the AU wanted to be part of an observer mission to ensure any deal is respected.
"This is an African problem, and we have a certain sense that maybe others do not have," Chergui said.
He added that terrorism remains the real threat in Africa given the instability in several region, such as the Sahel and Chad Basin.
Tribal conflicts also undermine Africa’s security and allow terrorists to exploit them to commit more crimes, he remarked.
Discussions tackled the situation in Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Comoros, Burundi and Central Africa. The African leaders also positively assessed the situation in Sudan, highlighting its political transition.