In DepthThe QuestionShould the African Union immediately suspend Libya?


Posted on Monday, 21 March 2011 11:17

Should the African Union immediately suspend Libya?

The African Union has been criticised for being slow to react to Colonel Gaddafi's violent suppression of demonstrators. On 10 March the AU Peace and Security Council tasked a high level committee to monitor the crisis, but it was denied access to Libya on 20 March.

Join in our debate below on whether Libya should be immediately suspended from the African Union.


Mustafa Gheriani, spokesman for the 17 February opposition movement in Benghazi, Libya

The African Union should not be associated with any regime that’s using systematic elimination of its people, that’s committing genocide using heavy equipment and machinery and bombing civilian cities. If they need any more reason than that then they shouldn’t be a union at all.

[Muammar] Gaddafi has fed the AU with a lot of money. He has given money left and right. I think [suspension] would send a clear message that it would not allow a member state that commits genocide against its own people. We have not heard anything from [the AU]. They have not been in touch with anybody in Libya. It’s a clear indication that they’ve been bought.


Assarid Ag Imbarcaouane, Vice President of the National Assembly of Mali

I don’t think the African Union should suspend Libya. At this point we should be looking for solutions, not for ways to make the situation worse. African countries should be looking into facilitating negotia- tion between the two sides. If we take the wrong position, we are encouraging a phenomenon that could happen in other countries too, with serious consequences. People are talking about these fighters as if they were part of a democratic revo- lution, but are they really?

President Sarkozy of France has been talking about air strikes on Libya. What right does he have to say such a thing? Can you imagine if someone said something like that about France, talked about Great Britain bombing France? For many years many governments have accepted the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi has travelled all around the world and has even set up his tents on the Champs-E´lyse´es. Now people say they want to oppose him. I don’t think the Gaddafi regime is perfect, but it is the recognised government and African nations should try to work with it.

What’s happening in Libya is an internal revolution. It’s between Libyans. It’s not the same thing as a military coup. It’s not the army which has taken control of the country: in that case it’s normal that the African Union would suspend a country until the return of democracy. But in this case we should be keeping as many avenues open for contacts with Libya as we can.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 March 2011 12:12

Gemma Ware

Gemma Ware

Gemma Ware is business editor of The Africa Report magazine, where she has worked since 2008. She coordinates the magazine's business pages and writes on a range of subjects from the continent's telecoms revolution, to private equity and African stock markets.

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