South Africa raps UNSC over Libya crisis
South Africa President Jacob Zuma shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon while acting as president of the United Nations Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York, January 12, 2012.
South African President Jacob Zuma has censured the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for mishandling the crisis in Libya which ended with the killing of the country's ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
Zuma, whose country holds the rotating Security Council presidency for January, said on Thursday that an African Union peace plan for Libya was "completely ignored in favor of bombing Libya by NATO forces."
"The consequences of the actions that were carried out in Libya in the name of the United Nations Security Council have spilled over into other countries in the region," the South African president told the council meeting in New York.
Zuma made the remarks as he chaired an open debate on the cooperation between the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU).
South Africa voted in favor of Security Council Resolution 1973, passed on March 17, 2011, which sanctioned a no-fly zone over Libya using the “necessary measures” with the stated aim of protecting civilians against Gaddafi forces.
On March 31, NATO took over the command of implementation of the no-fly zone and carried out hundreds of airstrikes on what the alliance said were military targets, but the attacks led to the death of civilians, too.
Later, South Africa joined Russia, China, and India in opposing NATO's airstrikes in Libya saying the air raids breached UN resolutions.
South Africa along with Russia called for a UN inquiry into the airstrikes.
Zuma went on to say that African leaders' views must be listened to prevent conflict in the region.
He warned the Western powers not to make Africa a "playground" for the competitors battling for influence in the continent like they did during the Cold War era.