As the crisis in Libya continues, the attitude of the African Union (AU) has been one of people’s major concerns. The position of the largest regional organization in the African continent has indicated that the group opposes the military action against Libya and advocates a peaceful solution.
The AU had, in fact, set up a special committee on Libya before Western coalition forces started airstrikes on the North African country, hoping to solve the ongoing crisis through peaceful means.
To push ahead a peaceful solution to the Libya crisis, the AU High Level ad hoc Committee proposed a five-point roadmap, requesting the parties concerned in Libya to protect civilians and stop hostile activities, provide humanitarian assistance to both affected Libyans and foreign migrant workers, particularly those from Africa. The committee also called for political dialogue that leads to an agreement to end the crisis.
The roadmap also included setting an inclusive transitional period and conducting political reforms necessary to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people.
The roadmap got a positive response from the Libyan government. Last week, the African Union met here with a Libyan delegation led by Ahmed Zouni, speaker of Libyan People’s Congress. The delegation made an oral confirmation that the Libyan government would fully implement the roadmap, said Jean Ping, AU Commission chairman.
Members of the AU ad hoc committee tried to visit Libya after Western forces started airstrikes on March 19 to consult with Libya’s warring sides on ways to end the crisis, but they had to abort the mission due to a no-fly zone over Libya imposed by coalition forces.
In a gesture to show their reservation about Western military action against Libya, AU representatives did not attend an international conference on the Libya issue held in London on Tuesday.
Jean Ping later told reporters that the AU hopes to solve the Libya crisis through peaceful means and does not hope to see "another Somalia."
He said he believed that the military operations launched by Western forces in Libya had gone beyond the UN authorization, and are likely to cause an even greater humanitarian crisis there.
Despite the volatile situation in Libya, Jean Ping said, the AU will keep contact and communication with all the parties involved, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and strive for a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Libya.