OSLO, Sept 1 – South Africa disagrees with NATO’s military intervention in Libya, which is why it will take no part in Thursday’s conference in Paris dedicated to rebuilding the war-torn country, President Jacob Zuma said.
“We are not happy” with the way UN resolution 1973 was implemented to allow air strikes on Libya, Zuma told a news conference during a state visit to Norway.
“If any measure of military would be used, it was to help to protect people, as we understood (things, who) could have been killed,” he said, explaining why South Africa, a temporary member of the UN Security Council, had voted in favour of the no-fly zone over Libya but opposed NATO air strikes.
“But instead of protecting, it became the bombing, (as) cover for the other group (the rebels) to advance,” he said.
Zuma has repeatedly criticised NATO for using the UN resolution to help the rebels against Moamer Kadhafi, and cautioned last week that the NATO-led use of force had undermined Africa’s peace efforts.
Making his comments Thursday just hours before the opening of the Paris conference organised by France and Britain, who were the driving forces behind the air strikes, Zuma also reiterated that the Libyan reconstruction should be headed by the African Union and the UN.
Within the African Union framework, South Africa, which so far has refused to recognise the National Transitional Council (NTC), had attempted in vain to mediate peace between Kadhafi’s ousted government and the rebels.