12 Nisan 2011 Salı

Turkey's Libya road map in limbo as AU plan gains momentum

Hurriyet Daily News

As Ankara seeks international support for its 'road map' on the Libya crisis, an African Union peace initiative gains momentum, with Gadhafi accepting the plan and the EU backing the African leaders' efforts. A delegation of African heads of state meets Libyan rebel leaders in their stronghold of Benghazi to try to sell the plan.

With neither Libyan rebels nor Moammar Gadhafi’s regime giving a clear response to Turkey’s “road map” for the country, an African Union initiative for peace appears to be winning support.

A delegation of African leaders met Libyan rebels in their stronghold of Benghazi on Monday to try to sell a peace plan already accepted by Gadhafi. The spokesman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton said the bloc also backs the African Union’s diplomatic efforts to bring a peaceful end to the conflict in Libya.
“There are a couple of proposals of road maps for Libya. What is important for us is to implement one of them immediately. But it seems that Gadhafi just wants to gain some time,” an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday.

South African President Jacob Zuma, head of an AU peace mission, said early Monday that Gadhafi had accepted a peace “road map,” including a cease-fire, after talks in Tripoli. “We also in this communique are making a call on NATO to cease the bombings to give a cease-fire a chance,” Zuma said.

A spokesman in the rebel capital of Benghazi said the opposition would look at the plan but Gadhafi must end his 41-year rule.

“The Libyan people have made it very clear that Gadhafi must step down, but we will consider the proposal and respond once we have more details,” spokesman Mustafa Gheriani told Reuters.

“We support the AU efforts to find a political solution to the situation in Libya,” Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann told a news briefing Monday.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday that any cease-fire in Libya must be credible and verifiable, after an African Union delegation said Tripoli had accepted a peace plan.
Amid parallel international efforts to end civil war in Libya, Turkey is seeking international support for its road map, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared last week. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met Sunday in Ankara with the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy to Libya, Abdelilah Al Khatib. Davutoğlu later traveled to Egypt for discussions with both the Egyptian administration and the Arab League. He will also attend the NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Berlin on Thursday.

Turkey’s proposal will be discussed Wednesday in a Qatar meeting on Libya that will address a proposal for arming Libyan rebels, urging Gadhafi to step down and international efforts on the crisis-hit North Africa country, a Turkish official said.

Erdoğan called late Thursday for “a real cease-fire [in Libya] to be settled immediately and Gadhafi’s military units to end their siege of some cities and withdraw.”

The Turkish Red Crescent meanwhile announced that it will send more food, ambulances and medical supplies to Libya this week. A Turkish Islamist charity, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, also said it plans to send an aid ship to the besieged port of Misrata this week, Agence France-Presse reported.


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