A peace plan agreed by African leaders Friday rules Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi out of talks to end the four-month conflict in his country, a top official told AFP.
The plan, which has yet to be presented to the Libyan regime and rebels, says “Gaddafi must not participate in negotiations”, the head
of the African Union peace council, Ramtane Lamamra, told AFP after the document was finalised in hours of talks.
This emerged as France said on Friday that it had informed its partners in Nato as well the UN Security Council about its decision to
supply arms directly to the rebels in Libya.
Visiting Foreign Minister Alain Juppe insisted that this week’s arms drop was meant only to defend peaceful civilians from Gaddafi’s
forces and thus fell in line with existing UN resolutions on the conflict.
“We informed our partners in Nato and the Security Council about these deliveries,” Juppe told reporters after talks with Russian
counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
“We believe that within the frameworks of Resolutions 1970 and 1973 — and 1970 as a whole — it is clear that all means are
legitimate for protecting peaceful civilians,” Juppe said in reference to the Security Council texts adopted in February and March.
The first bans all arms deliveries to Libya, a move Russia backed, and the second authorises nations “to take all necessary measures”
to help protect civilians against Gaddafi’s forces.
Russia abstained from the second vote and Juppe acknowledged that “we have disagreements”.
“But despite this, we will be working together,” France’s top diplomat added.
Lavrov for his part emerged from the talks by calling the arms drop an example of how some Western powers abuse international law.
Russia has long voiced fears of Western powers going to war against Gaddafi’s forces and the arms drop has reinforced some Russian
politiicians’ suspicions that a ground offensive was in store.
Lavrov said that France’s interpretation of the resolutions presented at Friday’s meeting “allows anyone to do anything for any reason”.
“It was precisely this paragraph that caused us problems,” said Lavrov in reference to Russia’s abstention from the UN Security
Council vote in March.
“As we had warned in advance, now we have these very unpleasant situations when things can be interpreted in any number of ways,”
“I think that we and Paris and other permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council should expect to receive
documents that are clear.”
But he added that Russia and Western powers agreed on the end goal of Gaddafi leaving power in Libya and the country deciding its
future through democratic processes.
The two sides’ disagreements “concern the means for achieving a particular goal, not the goals themselves,” Lavrov said.