Monday, April 18, 2011

Zuma gave Gaddafi a call

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma phoned Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the weekend, his spokesperson said on Monday, after the collapse of a truce he had brokered with a team of African leaders.

Zuma's spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told AFP that the two leaders spoke after Zuma returned from a Brics emerging markets summit in China, which also includes Russia, India and Brazil.

"The conversation was between the two leaders," Kodwa said. "I can't disclose the conversation between the two leaders."

After the summit on Thursday, the five nations spoke out against using force in Libya and across the Arab world, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev saying force was not authorised by the United Nations.

Zuma visited Tripoli on April 10 as part of a high-ranking African Union delegation to broker a truce between Gaddafi and rebels, but a peace plan fell through when the rebels insisted the strongman step down.

South Africa voted for the UN resolution authorising the no-fly zone over Libya, while the other four Brics countries abstained.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa's vote had not emerged as a sore point during the summit in China.

"In our bilateral meetings, not a single member said they were aggrieved by South Africa voting the way we did," she said. "There was no awkwardness whatsoever."


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