Arrest warrants, weapon delivery unlikely to solve Libya crisis

08:55, July 04, 2011      

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Arrest warrants and weapon delivery are unlikely to solve the Libya impasse. Instead, they may only complicate negotiations for an ultimate solution to the ongoing crisis.

On June 27, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for alleged crimes committed in the unrest-torn North African country since February this year.

Gaddafi was accused of crimes against humanity, including murder and persecution, allegedly committed across Libya from Feb. 15 till at least Feb. 28, the court said in a notice on its website.

The Netherlands-based court also issued warrants for Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, Libya's head of intelligence, on the same charges.

However, many experts and observers believed the arrest warrants were unlikely to help solve the Libya crisis. Instead, it risks escalating violent clashes between Gaddafi's supporters and opponents.

As an article run by the website of The Atlantic has suggested, the ICC arrest warrants could hardly make a difference for the pressing issue of Libya's civil war, and it "can be little more than a lifelong ban against traveling to certain countries."

Some experts said Western countries are actually using the ICC to promote their values and secure their own interests. They are also worried that the arrest warrants could leave Gaddafi's supporters without choice but fighting to the end.

In a related development, France has reportedly delivered weapons to Libyan rebels. A report by Le Figaro newspaper said the weapons included anti-tank rockets and light arms, and France, a major player in the NATO operation on Libya, did not inform its allies about the move.

France's arms supply to the Libyan rebels was believed by many countries as a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1970, which imposed a comprehensive arms embargo on Libya.

African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Jean Ping said the French move was dangerous and would put the whole region in danger, risking creating problems similar to those in war-torn Somalia.

Paris argued it had not violated the UN embargo because the weapons airdropped to the rebels were needed for them to protect civilians.

In contrast to the arrest warrants and France's arms delivery that may have complicated the situation in Libya, some real efforts have been made during the recently-convened 17th AU Summit to help Libyan government and rebels sit down and negotiate.

Representatives of the Libyan government and rebels will soon meet in Ethiopia in a bid to negotiate a way out of the current crisis in their country, South African President Jacob Zuma said Friday in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, where the summit was held.

Zuma, who is also the spokesman for the AU High Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya, made the announcement at a press conference after the conclusion of the summit, at which the Libya issue was the hottest subject of the debate.

Gaddafi would not attend the talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Zuma said, giving no more details about the arrangement.

The AU has presented its proposals to delegates of Libya's two conflicting sides attending the AU conference, urging the two sides to follow the AU's roadmap to halt hostilities and start talks immediately, Zuma said.

The South African president also lashed out at NATO's continued aerial bombardment on Libya, which has lasted for more than three months in the name of protecting civilians in Libya.

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