, CAPE TOWN, Mar 21 – President Jacob Zuma said Monday that South Africa does not support "the regime change doctrine" in Libya, and called for restraint from foreign countries enforcing a no-fly zone.
"As South Africa we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya," said Zuma, one of five heads of state on a high-level African Union panel on Libya.
Zuma voiced support for the resolution by the UN Security Council imposing a no-fly zone over Libya — which South Africa, a non-permanent member of the council, voted for — but said it should be implemented "in letter and spirit".
"Operations aimed at enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians should be limited to just that," he said.
"They should not harm or endanger the civilians that Resolution 1973 sought to protect."
Zuma, who was speaking in Cape Town at celebrations to mark South Africa\’s Human Rights Day holiday, said the country also supported an African Union resolution rejecting foreign military action in Libya.
"South Africa recommits itself to the position of the AU Peace and Security Council of 10 March, which reaffirmed Africa\’s strong commitment to the respect of the unity and territorial integrity of Libya, and underscored Africa\’s rejection of any foreign military intervention, whatever its form," he said.
"We believe that a peaceful and political solution, based on the will of the Libyan people, will guarantee long-term stability in Libya."
Zuma cancelled a trip to Mauritania to meet with the rest of the AU\’s high-level panel on Libya on Saturday, sending a delegation led by his state security minister to represent him.
The panel called Sunday for an "immediate stop" to all foreign attacks after Western nations launched a series of strikes aimed at crippling Libya\’s air defences and preventing Colonel Moamer Kadhafi\’s forces from attacking civilians in a month-old uprising against his rule.
African leaders have appeared hesitant to join international condemnation of Kadhafi, who played a key role in establishing and funding the AU and has spread Libyan oil money around the continent with largesse.
Foreign ministry officials in South Africa have said the country will not call on Kadhafi to step down, but that Zuma has insisted the Libyan leader end the killing of civilians.