EU seeks common approach with AU on Libya

AFP , Tuesday 22 Mar 2011

The EU will participate in a meeting called by the African Union seeking a joint approach

The European Union will take part Friday in Addis Ababa in a meeting called by the African Union, with the aim of finding a joint approach to ending the fighting in Libya, a senior EU diplomat said.

"There is a lot of common ground in the approach taken by both unions and that is the common ground that we want to build on to achieve the solution that we all want, which is an end to the killings and an inclusive political process," said Nick Westcott, Africa advisor to EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton, on Tuesday.

Westcott, who is visiting east Africa, will head to Addis at the end of the week, notably to take part in a meeting on Libya planned for Friday.

An AU panel on Libya on Sunday called for this meeting with representatives of the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the EU and the United Nations.

According to this panel, the aim is to "put in place a mechanism for consultation and concerted action" to resolve the Libyan crisis.

The AU panel, made up of five heads of state, Sunday called for an "immediate stop" to all hostilities the day after air raids were launched by the United States, France and Britain against Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

The AU, which for a long time said little on the Libyan uprising or the fighting that followed it, underscored the need for "necessary political reforms to eliminate the causes of the present crisis" but at the same time called for "restraint" from the international community to avoid "serious humanitarian consequences."

The continental body has also underscored the need to protect Libya's "territorial integrity" and rejected "all foreign military intervention."

"It was quite clear that colonel Gaddafi was very willing to kill civilians in order to retain power. My understanding is that both the AU as well as the EU judge that inacceptable, from the statements that they have made," Westcott said.

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