Reports speculating that President Jacob Zuma will discuss an “exit strategy” with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during his visit to Tripoli are misleading, the Presidency said on Wednesday.
“The Presidency has noted incorrect newswire reports saying President Jacob Zuma is visiting Libya next week as part of a Turkish government mission … Speculation that the visit is to discuss an ‘exit strategy’ is also misleading,” said spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.
Zuma will visit Libya on May 30 as a member of the African Union high-level committee “on the resolution of the conflict in Libya”, Kodwa said.
He explained that the Peace and Security Council of the AU adopted a road map for Libya on March 10 calling for “immediate cessation of all hostilities”.
The road map also called for the cooperation of Libyan authorities in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to needy populations, the protection of foreign nationals, and the “adoption and implementation of the political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis”.
Talk Radio 702 earlier reported that the aim of the visit was to discuss an exit strategy for Gaddafi.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) also reported that two sources in the Presidency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks would focus on Gaddafi’s “exit strategy”.
“He will see Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli,” one of the sources said.
“The purpose is to discuss an exit strategy for Gaddafi. The meeting is still very much in the planning stages,” the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A second official told AFP that South Africa was working with Turkey on the exit plan.
“The plan is to discuss an exit strategy with Muammar Gaddafi. We are working with the Turkish government,” the official said.
The South African government and the African National Congress publicly slammed the Libyan government last week following the news of the death of photographer Anton Hammerl, who had dual South African-Austrian nationality.
South Africa accused Libya of lying, saying it had known all along that Hammerl had been shot dead on April 5, but despite this kept reassuring officials that he was safe. — Sapa, Reuters, AFP