AU’s peace plan is workable

The African fraternity has come to Libyas rescue. The African Union’s plan to broker political peace in the war-weary country is highly appreciated.

The otherwise docile organization in world affairs has, at least, made the difference by travelling all the way to Tripoli and persuading the embattled Libyan leader to make room for reconciliation. Irrespective of the fact whether his exit has been deliberated or not, a complete ceasefire and a negotiated transition to democracy will come as a great relief to the people who at the moment are in the range of fire between the rebels and pro-government forces. Restoration of civil order is a must in Libya and that can only come when the warring factions stepped back from the brink of disaster. It is, nonetheless, a good sign that Gaddafi had acceded to the demands of the African leadership to make room for a transition in the corridors of power, and broaden the scope of governance.

Notwithstanding how the AU-brokered roadmap works out, a point of consolation for Gaddafi is that he is still calling the shots for Libya, and the battery of African leaders who met him had simply acknowledged that fact. Unlike the European Union, the United States and many of the Arab countries, the African Union hasn’t made public its ‘desire’ to see Gaddafi step down. This aspect could bolster Libyas faith in AU’s peace plan and even lead to a humble exit of the Libyan dictator. African politics is ripe with such examples. The AU deal’s salient features of an immediate ceasefire, unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid and a dialogue between the adversaries is in need of implementation. No time should be wasted in fine-tuning its modalities, nor should it be left at the discretion of either party to choose as when to begin with. In fact, Britain and France who spearheaded the movement to cripple Gaddafi regime with a no-fly zone and air strikes could have achieved much more if their envoys would have patiently shuttled for a while between Tripoli, Paris and London.

The AU’s five-member panel under South African President Jacob Zuma, which enjoys the mandate of the European Union to mediate in Libya, should not come to pass. The United Nations and the Arab League should put its weight behind the AU initiative and ensure that the North African country is saved from sliding deep into the abyss of anarchy and chaos. At the same time, Gaddafi stands a chance to sign out of his international isolation by gracefully restoring peace and bowing out in a statesmanlike manner. The AU initiative is more than a blessing in disguise, as it comes to ensure the country’s territorial integrity and the much-desired political rapprochement. Gaddafi and the rebels cannot withstand to ignore it.

Khaleej Times

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