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Museveni criticises West s action on Libya

KAMPALA, Mar 22 – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday denounced the West\’s military action against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, terming it hypocritical and urged negotiations to end the turmoil.

Museveni accused the West of double standards over imposing a no-fly zone on the north African country while other Arab nations were also being shaken by popular revolts.

"I am totally allergic to foreign, political and military involvement in sovereign countries, especially African countries," Museveni wrote in a statement published in the state-owned New Vision daily.

"The Western countries always use double standards. In Libya, they are very eager to impose a no-fly zone. In Bahrain and other areas where there are pro-Western regimes, they turn a blind eye to the very same conditions or even worse conditions."

"The actions of the Western countries in Iraq and now Libya are emphasising that might is right."

Museveni also wondered why appeals to the United Nations to slap a no-fly zone on Somalia – where he has deployed troops for an African Union mission – had gone unheeded yet it is home to Al Qaeda-linked rebels blamed for regional instability.

"Why? Are there no human beings in Somalia similar to the ones in Benghazi? Or is it because Somalia does not have oil which is not fully controlled by the Western oil companies…"

The Ugandan leader is on a five-member AU high-level panel on Libya and called for negotiations between Gaddafi and the rebels to end the unrest.

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"Colonel Gaddafi should be ready to sit down with the opposition, through the mediation of the AU, with the opposition…," he said.

Museveni himself has faced opposition accusations of fraud and calls for mass protests after elections in February extended his 25-year-old rule, putting him among Africa\’s long-serving leaders.

The former guerrilla leader seized power in 1986 and had received military assistance from Gaddafi. But Museveni criticised the Libyan opposition for not fighting on their own without help from the West.

"If the Libyan opposition groups are patriots, they should fight their war by themselves and conduct their affairs by themselves.

"After all, they easily captured so much equipment from the Libyan army, why do they need foreign military support? I only had 27 rifles. To be puppets is not good."


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