Libyan rebels approach victory, face diplomatic obstinace from South Africa

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Amid the excitement which has greeted the advance of Libyan rebels into Tripoli, the Wall Street Journal reports that some countries may not be so pleased by the rebel’s military victory: namely, South Africa.
South Africa’s preference for negotiations in place of armed resistance by the Libyan rebels have been consistent with an attitude towards its neighbours which often puts a premium on preventing external intervention over ameliorating egregious human rights abusers in the continent, as has been the case in its attitude towards the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Indeed, Gaddafi’s all-or-nothing approach belies such a belief in the efficacy of negotiations as either naive or mendacious.
South Africa has said it prefers talks which would deliver a hybrid transitional government comprised of rebel forces and members of the current regime (excluding Gaddafi), and continue to withhold their recognition of the Transitional National Council, which countries including the US and UK now recognise as the legitimate government of Libya. As a leader in Africa’s post-colonial transition towards democracy and equal rights, it is disappointing for South Africa to have failed to own up to the reality of the situation in Libya and support what looks like the final prelude to victory by the Libyan Opposition over a murderous tyrant.

HJS



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