army truck explodes.jpgThe South African government has called for restraint to avoid further civilian casualties in Libya and rejected efforts to use the crisis to effect regime change.

The government was deeply concerned about the deteriorating political and humanitarian situation in Libya, government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told a media briefing on Thursday following cabinet’s regular Wednesday meeting.

According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), about 2 000 people crossed the Libyan border to neighbouring countries daily, while thousands of migrant workers remained trapped inside conflict zones.

“We are also concerned about report of increased proliferation of arms in that region,” Manyi said.

South Africa supported the people of Libya in their quest for peace, democratic reforms, justice, a human rights culture, and socio-economic development that responded to their needs.

“We commend the African Union Peace and Security Committee (AUPSC) for establishment of a high level committee (HLC) on Libya, because currently it is the only viable solution [for a] peaceful resolution of the crisis in a manner that responds to the legitimate needs of the Libyan people.

“We reiterate the call by the AU for [an] immediate cease-fire, cooperation by [the] Libyan authorities to facilitate humanitarian assistance, protection of foreign nationals, including African migrant workers, and the adoption of political reforms to address the root cause of the conflict,” he said.

Cabinet also commended the AU HLC roadmap, which included an immediate cessation of hostilities, humanitarian assistance for the Libyan people and migrant workers, inclusive political dialogue, inclusive transition, and political reforms.

“As South Africa we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya or any other sovereign state.

“The South African government calls for restraint to avoid any further civilian casualties and categorically rejects any efforts of using the current crisis in Libya to effect regime change, while recognising the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy and reform.

“We are confident that this is consistent with the African Union Peace and Security Council decision to ‘respect the unity and territorial integrity of Libya as well as its rejection of any foreign military intervention; whatever its form’.”

South Africa would continue to work through this council, the AU and other multilateral as well as bilateral platforms to contribute towards a speedy resolution to the Libyan crisis in a manner consistent with the aspirations of the people of the Libya, Manyi said.