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Libyan Rebels Play “For Outside Patrons,” Uganda Says, Alleging Colonialism

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 15 -- Western countries on the UN Security Council pushed hard to keep most of the African Union presentations about Libya behind closed doors.

  Now we know and can report why.

  Outside the closed door session in the UN's North Lawn building on June 15, a European Permanent Representative complained to Inner City Press that all speeches inside were constructive “except Uganda.”

  Uganda was until December on the Security Council, represented by Ambassador (and medical doctor) Ruhakana Rugunda. Inner City Press asked Rugunda if he had called for NATO to stop bombing, and Ruganda indicated that he had.

  Inner City Press has now obtained and is publishing Uganda's representative Rugunda's statement in the Council's closed door meeting on Libya. The statement goes beyond calling for a ceasefire by NATO -- it says that the rebels in Libya are playing for external patrons and likens them to Mobutu in the Congo.

  Rugunda says that what is happening in Libya is a civil war, not genocide, for which he gives as examples Rwanda and the Holocaust. He says that both Gaddafi and the rebels are engaged in war crimes, and cites positively the “provisional immunity” offered in Burundi.

  In this case, of course, Gaddafi has already been referred to the International Criminal Court. Along the margins of the meeting, some Council members complained that too much power had been given to UN part time envoy al-Khatib, who hadn't even deigned to come to the June 15 meeting. The Western powers didn't want him to come, it was speculated. But what is he accomplishing?

Rugunda & Ban, earlier, ceasefire on NATO not shown

  Here is the full text of Ugandan representative Rugunda's June 15 closed door speech:

HE Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations At A meeting between the UN Security Council and the African Union High Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya

15th June, 2011

Mr. President,

1. Thank you for organizing this interactive dialogue. It is good that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has met the African Union (AU) Mediation Committee (High-Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya) so that we can exchange views on the situation in Libya in a candid and frank manner. This should have happened much, much earlier because Libya is a founding member of the AU. An attack on Libya or any other member of the African Union without express agreement by the AU is a dangerous provocation that should be avoided given the good, relaxed international situation in the last 20 years since the release of Nelson Mandela from jail and the eventual freedom of South Africa.

2. The UN is on safer ground if it confines itself on maintaining international peace and deterring war among member states.

3. Intervening in internal affairs of States should be avoided except where there is proof of genocide or imminent genocide as happened in Rwanda or against the Jews in Germany and the European Countries that were occupied by the Third Reich.

4. There are differences on the issue of Libya as to whether there was proof of genocide or intended genocide. Fighting between Government troops and armed insurrectionists is not genocide. It is civil war. It is the attack on unarmed civilians with the aim of exterminating a particular group that is genocide – to exterminate the genes of targeted groups such as the Jews, Tutsis, etc. It is wrong to characterize every violence as genocide or imminent genocide so as to use it as a pretext for the undermining of the sovereignty of States. Certainly, sovereignty has been a tool of emancipation of the peoples of Africa who are beginning to chart transformational paths for most of the African countries after centuries of predation by the slave trade, colonialism and neo- colonialism. Careless assaults on the sovereignty of African Countries are, therefore, tantamount to inflicting fresh wounds on the destiny of the African peoples. If foreign invasions, meddlings, interventions, etc, were a source of prosperity, then, Africa should be the richest continent in the world because we have had all versions of all that: slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yet, Africa has been the most wretched on account of that foreign meddling.

5. Whatever the genesis of the intervention by NATO in Libya, the AU called for dialogue before the UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 and after those Resolutions. Ignoring the AU for 3 months and going on with the bombings of the sacred land of Africa has been high-handed, arrogant and provocative. This is something that should not be sustained or repeated. To a discerning mind, such a course is very dangerous. It is unwise for certain players to be intoxicated with technological superiority and begin to think that they alone can alter the course of human history towards greater freedom for the whole of mankind. Certainly, no constellation of states should think that they can recreate hegemony over Africa.

6. The safer way is to use the free gift God gave us – the ability to talk – in order to solve all problems.

7. The UN or anybody acting on behalf of the UN must be neutral in relation to the internal affairs of states. Certainly, that should be the case with respect to the African countries. The UN should not take sides in a civil war, for instance, in an African country. The UN should promote dialogue, reconciliation, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and help in enforcing agreements arrived at after negotiations such as the agreement on the Sudan.

8. Regardless of the genesis of the Libyan problem, the correct way forward now is dialogue without pre-conditions. The demand by some countries that Colonel Muammar Gadaffi must go first before the dialogue is incorrect. Whether Gadaffi goes or stays is a matter for the Libyan people to decide. It is particularly wrong when the demand for Gadaffi’s departure is made by outsiders.

9. In order for dialogue, without pre-conditions, to take place, we need a ceasefire in place that should be monitored by the AU troops among others. This will help the AU to confirm the veracity of the stories of Gadaffi killing civilians intentionally.

10. That dialogue should agree on the way forward in the direction of introducing competitive politics. Gadaffi thinks that he has the most democratic system in the world of people’s authority – elected local committees. Since so much chaos in Libya has emerged on the issue, Gadaffi should see the wisdom of accepting competitive democracy. Gadaffi cannot ignore the fact that the rebels took over Benghazi and his authority melted away before NATO came in to confuse the picture. The pre-NATO uprising in Benghazi was, mainly, internal. Gadaffi may say that they were organized by Al Qaeda. Even if that is so, it is a fact that a sizeable body of the Libyans in Benghazi threw out Gadaffi’s authority or it melted away. Therefore, Gadaffi must think of and agree to reforms, resulting into competitive politics.

11. A transitional mechanism could, then, be worked out and elections – competitive elections – would take place after an agreed timetable.

12. What about security for the opposition members? We have plenty of experience on such issues. What did we do in Burundi? We provided a protection force (a brigade) for the Hutu leaders who were living outside Burundi or were in the bush. One of them is now the President of Burundi after winning democratic elections.

13. How about those who are alleged to have committed war crimes – including Gadaffi and the rebels? Again, our decision in Burundi is useful here. We used the concept of “immunité provisoire”, - provisional immunity – for all the stakeholders so that they could participate in the dialogue. After peace is realized, then a Truth and Reconciliation body could be set up to look into these matters. After democratic elections, trials of those that are guilty can take place.

14. Long term safety of every body can be ensured by security sector reform and especially reform of the army, so that it takes orders from any elected President.

15. The intervention in Libya was premised on the basis of protecting civilians and preventing further civilian deaths. civilians and preventing further civilian deaths. However, the humanitarian situation in Libya remains serious and continues to get worse with continued hostilities. Looking at how resolutions 1970 and 1973 are being implemented, the international community and the United Nations in particular, are being severely put to the test, as what is happening in Libya will undermine future efforts of the United Nations in the protection of civilians. There is, therefore, no need for any war-like activities in Libya because there is a peaceful, risk-free way forward. There has been no need for these war activities for many weeks now – ever since Gadaffi accepted dialogue when the AU mediation Committee visited Tripoli on the 10th April, 2011. Any war activities after that have been nothing but provocation for Africa. It is totally unnecessary war. It must stop.

16. The story that the rebels cannot engage in dialogue unless Gadaffi goes away does not convince us. If they do not want dialogue, then, let them fight their war with Gadaffi without NATO bombing. Then, eventually, a modus vivendus will emerge between the two parties or one of them will be defeated. The attitude of the rebels shows us the danger of external involvement in internal affairs of African countries. The externally sponsored groups neglect dialogue as well as building internal consensus and, instead, concentrate on winning external patrons. This cannot be in the interest of that country. Mobutu’s Congo as well as performance of all the other neo-colonies of Africa in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and their eventual collapse in the 1990s prove that foreign sponsored groups are of no value to Africa.

17. It is essential that the United Nations Security Council works with the African Union to ensure that a ceasefire is immediately established with an effective and verifiable monitoring mechanism and dialogue embarked upon, leading to a political process including transitional arrangements and the necessary reforms. The crisis in Libya requires a political solution and not a military one; and the AU Road Map is the most viable option.

Finally, what is needed on the issue of Libya is a genuine partnership between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union. By working together we can find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya. I thank you.

* * *

At UN on Libya, African Council Members Want Statement on Compliance With Resolution 1973, US Said to Oppose

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 14 -- When African Union ministers wanted to come engage with the UN Security Council about NATO's bombing of Libya, the United States wanted to keep the meeting behind closed doors, the UK even suggesting it merely be a lunch, sources told Inner City Press.

  Now in advance of the June 15 meeting, which will be a briefing and “interactive dialogue,” sources tell Inner City Press that the US is opposing an African proposed Presidential Statement, which would reiterate the importance of compliance with Council Resolution 1973.

  Below is a copy of the draft, obtained by Inner City Press, which among other things “reaffirms that resolution 1973 (2011) explicitly excludes a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

  The three African members of the Security Council -- South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon -- are proposing the Statement. The US is apparently saying they cannot decide on the draft in 24 hours. (Others note that recently on Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice put forward a draft Presidential Statement at 2 pm and asked for it to be adopted that day.)

  The timing excuse, some feel, is a ruse: the US is hoping that Gaddafi can be killed and taken from power before the Security Council issues any further statement on Libya.

  Before publication of this story, Inner City Press asked US Mission to the UN in writing to answer three questions, including this one. While the Mission's spokesman provide an interim answer to one of the three questions, there was not answer to the request for denial or confirmation and comment on the US "opposing on Libya a proposed statement reiterating compliance with Resolution 1973, and why."

  Inner City Press spoke to an anti-Gaddafi member of Libya's Mission to the UN, who confirmed the African proposed statement and that the US will not accept it. He said, “the freedom fighters are now within 40 kilometers of Tripoli.”

  Neither Libyan side, he predicted, will speak in the interactive segment of the June 15 meeting. “We don't have credentials,” he said. Previously, the UN let Ambassadors Shalgam and Dabbashi speak, but no more. Nor does Gaddafi have a representative at the UN, after Nicaraguan former president of the General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann was blocked, with Susan Rice saying his tourist visa would be revoked if he tried to speak for Gaddafi.

Footnote: No other than Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has moved to hold a press conference at the UN. As it happens, it will not be inside the UN but rather across the street. Watch this site.

Here is the African-proposed Draft Presidential Statement on Libya

At the _____th meeting of the Security Council, held on 15 June 2011, in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “the situation in Libya”, and having received a briefing from a ministerial delegation of the African Union High-Level Ad-hoc Committee on Libya, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:

The Security Council expresses its deep concern over the continuation of violence in Libya, and reaffirms its commitment to the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) in letter and spirit to ensure protection of civilians in Libya. The Security Council reaffirms that resolution 1973 (2011) explicitly excludes a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.

The Security Council demands a complete end to violence and all attacks against and abuses of civilians, perpetrated by all parties and the establishment of an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. They stressed the need for such a ceasefire to be credible and verifiable, and encouraged the African Union and the United Nations, as well as other stakeholders, to spare no efforts in achieving this objective. The Security Council further demands a speedy solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people and tackles the underlying causes of the current crisis.

The Security Council stresses the need for a political solution to the conflict in Libya. In this respect, and recalling the provisions of paragraph 2 of UN Security Council resolution 1973(2011), they welcome the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Libya, Mr. Abdel-Elah Mohamed Al-Khatib, and those of the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee on Libya in the context of the AU Roadmap. The Security Council agreed on the need for close coordination of all efforts in support of the UN and in accordance with paragraph 2 of Security Council resolution 1973(2011) to find a solution to the crisis. The Security Council welcomes the joint effort being undertaken by the UN, AU, LAS, OIC and EU and looks forward to the outcome of their next meeting to be held in Cairo, Egypt on 18 June 2011.

The Security Council expresses its serious concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, and calls for full compliance with human rights and International Humanitarian Law and the creation of the required conditions for the delivery of assistance to all needy populations across Libya, including by guaranteeing appropriate access to humanitarian organisations. The Security Council stresses the need to provide necessary support to the African migrant workers living in Libya, including those seeking to leave the country.

The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

The Security Council will remain seized of this matter and will continue to meet to review the implementation of its resolutions on the situation in Libya.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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