South Africa pledged on Thursday to work with the United Nations and Arab states to help bring stability to Libya, after earlier refusing to recognise the country’s new rulers.
“South Africa stands ready to assist in any way possible so that Libya can return to normalcy,” President Jacob Zuma said.
“This office will work with the United Nations, the League of Arab States and other stakeholders to stabilise Libya … to facilitate the transitional process towards democratic institutions,” he said in response to a parliamentary question.
The ruling African National Congress’ (ANC) strong ties with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has meant Zuma’s administration has been hesitant to endorse Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).
During apartheid, Libya was one of the first countries to offer support to the ANC, then fighting an armed struggle against the white-minority government, and the ANC maintained close ties to Gaddafi.
Zuma said South Africa’s own transition to democracy 17 years ago meant it had unique experience it could pass on to the new regime.
“Our experience in reconciliation, as well as the integration of the armed forces following the transition to (South Africa’s) democratic dispensation could be relevant in the current post-conflict phase in Libya,” Zuma said.