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Monday March 21, 2011

African Union urges restraint on both sides

NOUAKCHOTT: A panel of heads of state asked by the African Union to find solutions to the Libyan crisis called for an end to hostilities, a day after Western powers began bombing Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

The panel of five heads of state including the presidents of South Africa, Mali, Mauritania, Congo and Uganda, in a statement after meeting in the Mauritanian capital on Saturday, called on both Libyan parties to end all hostilities immediately but made no direct mention of the Western military campaign.

European and US forces on Saturday unleashed warplanes and cruise missiles against troops loyal to Gaddafi following a UN Security Council resolution authorising the use of all necessary means to end attacks on civilians.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, chairing the AU panel meeting, rejected any form of military intervention in the Libyan crisis.

“We need urgent action for an African solution to this very serious crisis in our brother country,” he said in his opening remarks.

“This solution must adhere to the value we place in respecting territorial unity and integrity, as well as the rejection of all foreign military intervention, whatever form it takes.”

The panel asked the African Union to convene a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday.

The meeting will bring together representatives of the Arab League, the OIC, EU and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Libyan parties to find a solution to the crisis, the statement said. - Reuters

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