Mérida, March 3rd 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – According to Al Jazeera news reports and President Chávez, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi has accepted Chávez’s proposal for an International Peace Commission to mediate a peaceful political solution to the violent conflict underway in the North African nation. Chávez made the proposal on Monday, insisting that all mediation efforts must respect both national sovereignty and the Libyan people’s right to self-determination.
Venezuela’s Minister of Communication and Information Andrés Izarra on Wednesday confirmed that Chávez and Gaddafi discussed the goodwill commission during a telephone conversation held a day earlier.
Today, Izarra confirmed only that the Libyan government and Arab League are “studying the [Chávez] proposal” just as Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa “has affirmed”.
Amr Moussa this morning denied reports that Gaddafi had officially accepted the Chávez proposal. He did state, however, that Gaddafi is now “considering” the plan and that the Arab League discussed it with “several leaders” from Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East since Tuesday.
Egypt’s Moussa is said to be a strong candidate in upcoming presidential elections after a mass popular uprising forced US-backed Hosni Mubarak from the Egyptian presidency late last month.
According to Mexico’s daily El Informador, the Chávez proposal consists of the organizing and sending to Libya of a multinational delegation of representatives from “friendly nations” to facilitate a dialogue between the Libyan government and anti-Gaddafi forces.
“No one has contacted us [the opposition] with respect to Venezuela’s proposal to resolve the crisis in Libya,” said Gaddafi’s former Justice Minister and now Chairman of Libya’s opposition National Libyan Council (NLC) Mustafa Abdel Jalil on Thursday.
Jalil resigned from the Gaddafi government on 21 February 2011 in protest against what he called the “excessive use of force against unarmed protestors.” One week later, he announced the formation of a “transitional government.”
Jalil told reporters today that the NLC rejects the possibility of a dialogue between the Libyan opposition and Gaddafi.
In Washington, the AFP reports that Libya’s former envoy to the United States Ali Aujali – who also recently resigned from the Libyan government – is said to have responded, “no negotiations and no concessions” to suggestions that a negotiated solution was being considered.
Venezuela says No to Military Intervention in Libya
“Instead of sending [U.S.] Marines, planes, warships, and tanks against the Libyan people, why don’t we send a goodwill commission that goes and tries to help so that the killing in Libya come to an end,” said Chávez on Monday.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan UN Ambassador Jorge Valero called on the international community to condemn, “the warmongering mobilization of the Air Force and U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean Sea” in reference to two U.S. warships – the USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce – and 400 Marines that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent to the Libyan coast on earlier this week.
Valero insisted that the UN Security Council resolution adopted on Saturday was not an authorization for military intervention.
“Those who promote the use of military force against Libya,” said Valero, “do not seek to defend human rights, but to establish a protectorate to violate them in one of the most important sources of oil and energy in the Middle East.”
“Our delegate to the United Nations (Jorge Valero) was very clear”, said Venezuela’s President of the National Assembly and former guerrilla fighter Fernando Soto Rojos.
“They are the same principles as always – in the defense of people’s dignity we must struggle against all military intervention. This is the insignia in the permanent fight for true independence,” he affirmed on Wednesday.
Possible No-Fly Zone
Robert Gates on Thursday confirmed reports that a proposed no-fly zone over Libya, “begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. That’s the way you do a no-fly zone,” he said.
“Then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down,” he affirmed.
Gates made the comments as he questioned what he called “loose talk” about imposing such a no-fly zone coming from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
France and Britain today confirmed they would push for a no-fly zone over Libya if “the threats from Colonel Gaddafi” continued. They did not specify what type of “threats.”
Meanwhile, the Netherlands Ministry of Defense on Thursday confirmed the capture by Libyan troops of three Dutch Navy personnel who used a Westland Lynx multi-purpose military helicopter to enter Libya territory in a botched evacuation attempt.
Dutch officials said the failed evacuation began on Sunday when the naval helicopter took off from the naval frigate Tromp and landed in the Libyan port city of Surt. Before taking off with two “civilian foreigners,” Libyan troops captured the crew and evacuees.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the two civilians were handed over to the Dutch Embassy in Tripoli on Wednesday. The Dutch Defense Minister, meanwhile, is in “intensive diplomatic talks” with the Libyan armed forces to secure the troops’ release, the Times reported.