Friday, March 4, 2011

Libya green lights Venezuelan meditation

The armed conflict in Libya keeps escalating as hospitals run low on supplies and several towns surrounding the capital city of Tripoli are under a ‘state of siege”. The window for dialogue between the repressive government and opposition forces seemed to have passed a long time ago. Yet that hasn’t stopped one of Muammar Gaddafi’s few allies from taking a stab at meditation.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said this afternoon that his country’s government would accept Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ plans for an international mediation commission. According to Reuters, Kaim said the committee could "help the international dialogue and…help the restoration of peace and stability."

Kaim’s remarks were supported by foreign minister Mousa Kousa based on a letter read by his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro. “We authorize (the Venezuelan government) to take all the measures necessary to select the members (of the commission) and coordinate participation in this dialogue” read the note from Kousa that was mentioned during a meeting of the ALBA bloc today.

Some ALBA members supported the Chavez plan as one that could help prevent foreign intervention through actions such as an outside military invasion. It remains to be seen how non-ALBA Latin American nations will react to the plan though several governments have been very critical of Gadhafi’s crackdown against protesters.

Chavez first brought up the notion of a “committee of peace” earlier this week after he reportedly communicated with the embattled Libyan leader. Though the Arab League was considering the plan several western countries like the U.S. and France rejected it. “It’s unclear what a commission could accomplish if (Gadhafi) has ignored numerous calls by the international community to resign” asserted State Department spokesman Philip Crowley yesterday.

Some analysts have expressed doubts over Chavez’ call for dialogue; blogger and professor Greg Weeks briefly noted how his attitude towards Libya differed from his reaction at the recent uprising in Egypt. Furthermore, according to this article from Al Jazeera English:
Some see a contradiction between human rights abuses in those regimes and Chavez’s "21st century socialism" ideology.

"While it's understandable that you’d want to build this multipolar world against western imperialism, if that multipolarism consists of Russia, China, and a bunch of authoritarian regimes then what use is a multipolar world?" (author Nicolas) Kozloff said.
Image- AP/Ben Curtis via CBS News (“Armed residents stand on top of a captured tank flying a flag of Libya's monarchy prior to Muammar Qaddafi's reign, in Zawiya, Feb. 27, 2011.”)
Online Sources- Al Jazeera English, EPA,, Two Weeks Notice, The Latin Americanist, Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, Reuters

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