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PRESS STATEMENT OF THE 268TH MEETING OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 268th meeting held on 23 March 2011, was briefed by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the outcome of the meeting of the AU High‐Level ad hoc Committee on Libya, which took place in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, on 19 March 2011, and the efforts deployed as part of the follow‐up to the conclusions of this meeting, as well as on the subsequent developments in the situation. Council also received a statement from the representative of the Great Jamahiriya.

Council expressed full support for the conclusions of the Nouakchott meeting, which offered a viable basis for a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya, taking duly into account the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy and reform, as well as for peace and security.

Council, regretting that the mission of the ad hoc Committee to Libya was not authorized by the United Nations, urged the ad hoc Committee to continue and intensify its efforts within the framework of its mandate and in a manner consistent with, and complementary to, UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011), which duly recognizes the role of the Committee in seeking a peaceful and lasting solution to the Libyan crisis.

Council noted with satisfaction the announcement by the Libyan Government of its acceptance of the roadmap articulating a peaceful solution, as contained in the Nouakchott communiqué. In this regard, Council welcomed the planned holding of consultations between the AU and the Libyan parties, namely the Libyan Government and the Transitional National Council (TNC), to pave the way for negotiations on all aspects of the current crisis and the establishment of an inclusive transition, as well as the adoption and implementation of political reforms necessary to address the causes of the current crisis. In the meantime, Council, recalling the relevant provisions of its communiqués of 23 February 2011 [PSC/PR/COMM(CCLXI)] and 10 March 2011 [PSC/PR/COMM.2 (CCLXV)], as well as the communiqué adopted, on 19 March 2011, by the AU High‐Level ad hoc Committee on Libya, reiterated AU’s strong call for an immediate cessation of all hostilities, to ensure the effective protection of civilians and create conditions conducive for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Council looks forward to the outcome of the meeting scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa on Friday, 25 March 2011, involving the members of the Peace and Security Council and of the AU High Level ad hoc Committee on Libya, as well as the neighboring countries and AU partners, in order to agree on ways and means of an early exit from the crisis and to agree on a mechanism for consultation and joint actions to be taken. Council urged all AU partners to provide support for the efforts of the High‐Level ad hoc Committee and contribute effectively to the rapid implementation of its roadmap.

Council reiterated AU’s commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Libya, as well as to international legality, as reflected in relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Libya. In this regard, Council stressed the imperative of respect of the provisions of resolution 1973 (2011) on the no‐fly zone over Libya, which constitute an important element for the protection of civilians and the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Council encouraged the Chairperson of the Union, the ad hoc Committee and the Chairperson of the Commission to continue to work together towards the peaceful and early resolution of the crisis.

Council agreed to meet again to discuss the situation and take appropriate measures.