Forum Summit declaration pitches for UN reform, larger say for South

Amid growing regional and international concerns about the conflict in Libya, where NATO has intensified its bombing campaign in recent days, India joined Africa in calling for an immediate ceasefire and for a negotiated end to the violence there.

The Addis Ababa declaration issued here on Wednesday at the end of the Second Africa-India Forum Summit took note of the U.N. resolutions under which the NATO is using military force against Libya and stressed that “efforts to implement them should be within the spirit and letter of those resolutions.”

The declaration urges the parties in the conflict to strive for a political solution through peaceful means and dialogue. India and the 15 African governments including Libya, which took part in the summit, also expressed their support for the African Union High-Level Ad Hoc Committee initiative and the AU roadmap for the peaceful and consensual resolution of the conflict.

At a separate bilateral meeting with Libya's Foreign Minister, Abdal al Latti al Obedi, on the sidelines of the summit, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna regretted the NATO-led airstrikes and urged an immediate ceasefire in Libya, an end to the violence and any attack on civilians, a senior Indian official told The Hindu.

Mr. Krishna said this in response to Mr. al-Obedi's request for India to support an immediate ceasefire. The Indian Minister also urged the intensification of efforts to find a lasting, peaceful solution to the conflict.

With its earlier efforts at peacemaking having run aground in the face of the opposition of the Libyan rebels to any dialogue or ceasefire until Colonel Muammar Qadhafi left the country, the AU has now decided to put its political efforts into high gear. An extraordinary summit to discuss the crisis caused by the intensification of NATO's bombing campaign was held here on Wednesday evening, with several African heads of state flying into Addis Ababa to take part in the discussions.

The Africa-India summit declaration also dealt with a number of political issues, including piracy off the coast of Somalia, terrorism and U.N. reform. Specifically, the summit emphasised the need for countries to “exert utmost effort on U.N. Security Council reform during the current session of the U.N. General Assembly.”

In a separate document on a framework for enhanced cooperation between Africa and India, the two sides have envisaged a widening of the partnership to areas such as civil society and governance, science and technology, social development, health, culture, tourism, sports, infrastructure and media and communications.

It was also decided that the next Africa-India summit would be held in New Delhi in 2014.