Political solution, reforms proposed in Libya, Syria as security worsens in Yemeni capital

16:55, May 26, 2011      

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While political solution, domestic reforms and a U.N. resolution were being mulled to stop hostility and restore peace and stability in Libya and Syria, Yemen is likely to slip even deeper into bloody chaos.

AN AFRICAN SOLUTION FOR LIBYA

The African Union (AU) Wednesday called for a political solution to end Libya's protracted conflict at a special summit in Addis Ababa. The proposals included a ceasefire and a high-level mediation team.

"I am convinced that only a political solution can lead to a lasting peace and satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people," said Jean Ping, head of the AU Commission, the pan-African bloc's executive body.

"The situation in Libya remains a serious concern for us, for the future of Libya itself as well as for regional countries," Ping added.

The AU also proposed a similar ceasefire plan last month, yet was rejected by the Libyan rebels who insisted on Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi's departure first. Gaddafi himself readily accepted that plan.

In the meantime, NATO-led air attacks still have no end in sight.

According to Libyan news agency JANA, four blasts were heard late Wednesday in the central area of Tripoli

Libyan state television Al-Jamahiriya reported that a vocational school was among the targets hit and said the attacks caused human and material losses without specifying the details.

The strike was a continuation of a latest two-day bombing against the Libyan capital. In an earlier NATO air raid overnight Tuesday, 19 people were killed and over 130 injured, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told Xinhua, adding that it was the heaviest air strike against Tripoli in more than two months.

As the Libyan rebel force is still battling government troops on the ground, it is also busy seeking diplomatic support by attracting foreign governments and companies with Libya's oil reserves and reconstruction contracts.

The deputy chief of Libyan opposition's interim government said on Wednesday that the countries supporting them now would be the priority of Libya's foreign policy in future.

"The NTC (National Transitional Council) has reached a consensus that Libya's foreign policy in the future will be concentrated on the countries that are supporting us for the time being," Ali Essawi, deputy head of the executive office of the NTC and diplomatic representative of the Libyan opposition, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Essawi said that with important geopolitical locations and abundant natural resources, Libya will concentrate on large-scale reconstruction after the conflict ends, so cooperating with foreign companies is a must in the future.

POSSIBLE U.N. RESOLUTION AND SYRIA DOMESTIC REFORMS

The European nations including Britain, France, Germany and Portugal urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to pass their draft of a U.N. resolution condemning Syria for its allegedly crackdown on anti-government protestors.

The draft asks the Syrian government to comply with a U.N. Human Rights Council inquiry and launch "credible and impartial investigation" into the violence against protesters.

However, unlike previous U.N. resolutions on Libya, the text does not include power for sanction or military operation against Syria.

Also on Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pledged to carry out political and economic reforms to appease deteriorating turmoil in the country.

The reform is a principal choice that will be launched "in all Syrian provinces", Assad was quoted by al-Watan Daily newspaper as saying during a meeting with a number of scholars and imams from the southern city of Daraa.

Sheikh Muammar Shahadat, director of Islamic Endowment (Awqaf) Department of Daraa, said Assad promised to compensate those who were affected in the unrest in Daraa and hold all those who committed mistakes accountable.

Meanwhile, a Syrian military source said Wednesday that three policemen had been killed in a "treacherous" ambush by "armed terrorist group" at al-Ghajar village in the central province of Homs.

The source was quoted by Syrian Arab News Agency SANA as saying that those police officers and army units were still cracking down on those groups that "endanger the citizens' lives, destabilize the country and undermine its stability."

Syria has been in unrest since mid-March with protests demanding freedom and reforms, with some protests turning violent later on.

Syria blamed the crisis on armed extremist groups who seek to topple the government and replace it with an Islamic emirate while the human rights groups accused army and security forces of killing at least 1,000 Syrians and arresting some 1,000 citizens.

VIOLENCE EXPANDING IN YEMEN

Three loud explosions, including the sound of a missile, were heard in central Sanaa Wednesday night.

"The two explosions were heard at the direction of an old palace of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, while the missile was heard moving above residents' houses toward the sky above the defected army, close to opposition-backed protest sit-in near Sanaa University," a local resident said.

Some other local residents said soldiers coming down to the neighborhood told them via load speaker to turn off all lights before the huge explosions were heard.

The expositions were followed by heavy gunshots in Hassaba district between Saleh's forces and armed tribesmen loyal to opposition tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar.

One resident said the government forces were firing heavy ammunition on the opposition's key TV station called "Suhail", owned by one of al-Ahmar's brothers. Casualties were not known as all roads and byways nearby were blocked by the rivals.

Meanwhile, random bullets fired by gunmen of the tribal leaders, who vowed to support the protesters' demands of toppling Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, killed a military officer and injured up to nine others on Wednesday evening in the New Radio Military Camp loyal to President Saleh, a camp officer told Xinhua.

Seeking to prevent armed tribesmen from joining street battles led by al-Ahmar, Yemeni Republican Guards backing President Saleh closed all entrances to Sanaa on Wednesday, a military officer told Xinhua.

"We have strict orders to close all entrances to Sanaa... we allow citizens to leave Sanaa, but not to enter the capital," he said.

The measure came as armed tribesmen intensified their street battles since Monday to seize a number of government buildings in the district of Hassaba in downtown Sanaa.

Moreover, the country's aviation authorities also closed the International Sanaa Airport, suspending all departing flights and diverting incoming planes to other airports because of the intensified clashes.

Considering the mounting violence in the street, the U.S. State Department issued an order Wednesday, telling nonessential U.S. diplomats to leave Yemen as security conditions continued to deteriorate.

President Saleh said Wednesday in a statement he would not step down or allow his country to become a "failed state" even though the clashes between government forces and armed tribesmen rocked the capital.

"Yemen will not be a failed state. It will not turn to al-Qaida refuge," said the statement. Saleh also said he would work to prevent the country from being dragged "into a civil war".

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply troubled" by the violent clashes in Sanaa, according to a U.N. statement released on Wednesday.

"The confrontation might further destabilize the situation and calls for an immediate end to the fighting," said the statement, adding that all sides should find a peaceful resolution for the crisis.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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