Libya welcomes AU panel, slams Arab League

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Libya said it welcomed an African Union panel formed to try to end the Libyan crisis and said it would facilitate its work, while condemning an Arab League resolution calling for a no-fly zone over the country.

“The Libyan authorities will take all steps to welcome its members and offer all facilities for the accomplishment of the mission,” Libyan state television said, quoting an official statement on the AU mission.

The African Union announced on Friday the leaders of South Africa, Uganda, Mauritania, Congo and Mali would form a panel that will travel to Libya shortly, Reuters reports.

At a meeting of heads of state on Thursday, the head of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, Ramtane Lamamra, said events in the north African country needed “urgent African action” to bring about an end to the hostilities.

The AU has rejected foreign military intervention in Libya, where forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi are battling with rebels seeking to end his four decades in power.

The Arab League on Saturday called on the UN Security Council to impose a no fly-zone on Libya and said Gaddafi’s government had lost legitimacy because of what it described as its crimes against the Libyan people.

The Arab League resolution was “based on false claims and clear distortion of the facts”, Libyan state television said.



The Arab League council should have decided to send a fact-finding mission instead, it said, describing its resolution as an “unacceptable departure” from the Arab League’s charter.