May 31, 2011

Gaddafi not prepared to leave his country, says Zuma

Johannesburg – Libyan leader  Muammar Gaddafi has emphasized that he is not prepared to leave his country despite the difficulties, a statement by the South African Presidency on President Jacob Zuma’s visit to the troubled country has said.

Zuma visited Gaddafi in Libya on Monday on his way back from the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria, as part of AU efforts to end the problems facing the country.

The statement issued by the Presidency on Tuesday said Zuma, who will give a report on the visit to the Chairperson of the African Union Ad-hoc High Level Committee on Libya, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, was happy with the frankness of  his discussions with Gaddafi.

“ Col Gaddafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue.  He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties.

“Col Gaddafi reiterated his agreement to a ceasefire and a dialogue of the Libyan people to find a political solution.

Jacob Zuma of South Africa, (L) Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo (2-L), Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, (C) Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania (R) outside a tent erected at Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya residence in Tripoli, Libya, on 10 April 2011.

“ He expressed his anger at the NATO bombings, which have claimed the lives of his son and grandchildren and continue to cause a destruction of property and disruption of life,” the statement said.

It said  Zuma was taken on a tour to see the destruction caused by the NATO bombings and the deepening humanitarian crisis.

“The personal safety of Col. Gaddafi is of concern. The President is satisfied with the progress made and is happy with the frankness of the discussions which have enabled him to gain an understanding of where the Libyan government stands on issues and the way forward,”   the statement added/

It quoted Zuma as calling on all leaders in Libya to exercise decisive leadership to find a solution to the crisis in the country, and to put the interests of their country first.

“ Nothing other than a dialogue among all parties in Libya can bring about a lasting solution.

“ We will also reiterate the AU call for the NATO and other parties to respect the AU’s role in searching for a solution in the matter’’, it further quoted Zuma as saying.

“President Zuma reiterated the African Union peace plan, especially the need for a ceasefire on all sides to enable a political dialogue amongst the Libyan people to begin,” it added. (NAN)