Ethiopia recognizes Libyan rebels
By Kirubel Tadesse
in Capital, Tuesday, 06 September 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ahead of such a move by the African Union seated in Ethiopian capital, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced on Wednesday that the Ethiopian government has recognized the Libyan rebels as legitimate government in Libya.
Ethiopia announced its recognition of Libya’s dissent - the National Transitional Council (NTC) - jointly with Nigeria on Wednesday in Addis Ababa.
In a joint press statement they issued, the two countries said ‘in the interest of peace and stability, and wellbeing of the people of Libya, the governments of Ethiopia and Nigeria have decided to jointly recognize the NTC as the interim and legitimate authority in Libya’ over Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The decision was announced by Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Nigerian Foreign Minister Olubenga Ashiru.
According to the joint press statement, the two countries said the recent unfolding events in Libya amply demonstrated that the NTC is in control of the greater part of Libya, including Tripoli. “We stand ready to extend to them the support necessary to facilitate the achievement of the difficult tasks of establishing an inclusive transitional government, re-construction, national reconciliation, and peace building in order to meet the yearnings and legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.”
The two countries also called on the regional organ African Union to recognize the NTC.
“We call upon all peace loving countries in general including African countries and the African Union in particular to contribute to peace and stability in Libya by recognizing the authority and legitimacy of the NTC,” the statement reads.
According to the joint statement, to ensure the realization of the NTC’s objective, the African Union should be consistent by extending to the NTC the type of support and recognition that was extended to Tunisia and Egypt.
The move was expected to be resisted by other members such as South Africa which are concerned by foreign forces’ intervention in Libya. This was not the case in Tunisia and Egypt, which unseated their long time dictators in the ongoing Arab Spring.
Many analysts say the NATO bombing against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces succeeded in giving a military edge to the rebellion. The NATO operation however exposed cracks in the Western alliance that will complicate its involvement in future conflicts.
South Africa had voted in favor of UN Security Council resolution 1973 to protect civilians in Libya, but South Africans regretted the move when they saw NATO’s military intervention go beyond a no-fly zone.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has argued that the Libyan crisis is the latest example of Africa being shown a lack of respect by the rest of the world.
“Those who have the power to bomb other countries have undermined the AU’s efforts and initiatives to handle the situation in Libya,” he said.
“The situation in Libya has been of concern as it has been accompanied by the undermining of the African continent’s role in finding a solution. We could have avoided a lot of loss of life in Libya.” Zuma said powerful nations abused the UN Security Council resolution, “to further interests other than to protect civilians and assist the Libyan people”.