African leaders call for 'end to external interference' in affairs of Libya
African leaders say they want "an immediate end to external interference" in the affairs of conflict-ridden Libya.
That's according to ambassador Smail Chergui, commissioner for peace and security at the African Union (AU).
Chergui was speaking to journalists in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, after presenting a report on the peace and security situation on the continent at the AU heads of state summit that ends on Monday.
Libya has been plagued by violent conflict since the toppling of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and several western and African countries have been attempting to restore peace in the country.
Western powers have been accused of frustrating attempts to end violence in Libya to exploit the nation's natural resources, such as oil.
A conference in Berlin, Germany, a fortnight ago was the latest failure at resolving the Libyan crisis.
Chergui said the AU leader's summit has resolved that the continent's multi-lateral institution should work closely with the United Nations to resolve the Libyan crisis, and external governments should stay away.
"Once the cessation of hostilities has been officially signed, we want, as the AU, to join the UN in an assessment mission in Libya to evaluate what is necessary to make sure the cessation of hostilities is respected by everyone," said Chergui.
"We want immediate cessation of all external interventions and interferences in Libyan affairs. With those developments we expect the AU will move a mission to Tripoli [the Libyan capital] itself, and here we're grateful the UN is supporting us and also showing total readiness for mutual corporation."
Turning to the situation in South Sudan, Chergui said the AU was confident rival leaders in that country would meet the February 22 deadline to form a government of national unity.
With 12 days to go, South Sudan president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar are yet to agree how many states their country should have and their boundaries.
The matter, critical to securing lasting peace in the country that gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been a sticking point for a long time.
"We're hoping this is will be solved, and within the remaining 12 days we can secure the transitional government.
"We hope we'll not have another delaying of this process. We're hoping a solution will be found so I'm rather optimistic."
Chergui said the AU heads of state summit also wanted Western superpowers to lift sanctions against the government of Zimbabwe, describing them as "immoral".
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