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article imageSouth Africa blocks unfreezing of Libyan assets

By Christopher Szabo     Aug 25, 2011 in World
Pretoria - South Africa has blocked a UN Security Council resolution to unfreeze 1, 5 billion dollars of Libyan assets to Libya’s Transitional National Council, claiming it will approve only 500 million for humanitarian assistance.
The Guardian quoted government spokesman Jimmy Manyi saying:
"The South African government will always approach this matter in concert with the African Union and in the spirit of multilateralism. The government of South Africa condemns any form of violence and the doctrine of imposed regime change."
The South African government, however, never condemned the Gaddafi regime’s use of violence against its own people. Instead, it argued for “negotiations” even now, when it is possible Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is dead. South Africa's stance is important as it is a non-permanent member of the Security Council and therefore can block a vote.
President Jacob Zuma criticised NATO for intervening in the Libyan conflict and aiding the rebels. Earlier this week he said:
"Those who have the power to bomb other countries have undermined the AU's [African Union's] efforts and initiatives to handle the situation in Libya. 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."
He did not explain how he might have prevented Gaddafi shelling the Libyan people in Benghazi or other cities.
Well-known editor and commentator Allister Sparks was one of the many criticising the government’s approach:
"South Africa has established a position, which I think is foolish, of trying to show it's not the servant of the west and that Africa should carve out its own independent way in international affairs. It's brought us almost to an ideology that resists anything it perceives to be outside interference. I don't think Zuma has got many of his own ideas about it. It began with President Thabo Mbeki and it continues."
Sparks added:
"It's a didactic approach. It strikes me as absolutely absurd that while people are dancing in the streets celebrating freedom, South Africa is resisting that. South Africa owes a lot of its freedom to foreign intervention, including the west. We end up on the wrong side, the side of tyrants."
South Africans are not the only ones criticising the government. Britain’s defence secretary, Liam Fox, said the African National Congress (ANC) government’s position was “disappointing”, according to another Guardian report. He said:
“They wanted the world at one point to stand with them against apartheid. I think they now need to stand with the Libyan people, help unfreeze their assets and allow their authorities to get access to the capital they need to rebuild the country, and it's disappointing the stance they have taken so far. I hope that even now they will change their minds."
As if that were not all, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe called for NATO members to be tried for war crimes, a report on IOL said. Speaking in Parliament, Motlanthe said there were clear links to rebel actions and NATO bombing:
“There are clear links and co-ordination at that level.”
However, Motlanthe wondered if the NATO members would ever face War Crimes Tribunals.
“The question is whether the ICC would have the wherewithal to unearth that information and bring those who are responsible to book, including the NATO members or commanders on the ground.”
Gaddafi and the ANC were close friends during the Cold War and Gaddafi helped many members of the ANC during that time. Many observers believe this is the reason for the ANC’s loyalty towards Gaddafi and his faction in the Libyan war.
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