Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has demanded that negotiations be held between Libya’s National Transitional Council and the remnants of forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, seemingly linking this to Harare’s recognition of the new government.
Diplomatic officials in Harare said earlier that they would recognize the transitional council if and when the African Union did so.
Last week the AU issued a statement saying that it was recognizing the NTC as the de facto government of Libya as it works to establish democracy and reconstruct.
But addressing reporters in Harare Sunday on his arrival from the New York where he participated in the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Mugabe criticized African countries that have recognized the Transitional Council as “sellouts.”
Mr. Mugabe added: “We still want negotiations, inclusive negotiations between the NTC and the Gadhafi loyalists.”
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said his party fully supports Mugabe’s position that Gadhafi stalwarts should be included in the new order.
Speaking for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Luke Tamborinyoka said Mr. Mugabe’s statement does not reflect a government position. He said Mr. Tsvangirai’s position is that Libyans have a right to decide who should govern and represent them in Harare.
“There is the great risk for mistaking the ZANU-PF position as the government position.," he said.”That Zimbabwe does not recognize the NTC is not a shared position. That betrays the uneasy relationship of any coalition government. That there are no shared values and where the government in its inclusive nature has no common position.”
Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube said Harare should follow the African Union’s lead.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said that in terms of international law, Mugabe has no choice but to recognize the transitional council.
“What probably has happened is that Mugabe has been advised that under international law he has no choice but to have Zimbabwe recognize the NTC and that he is angry to having to accept the reality, hence his remarks,” Mandaza said.