US envoys in Africa to press for Gaddafi`s exit

Senior US diplomats are visiting several African countries as part of continuing efforts to urge leaders there to press Libyan strongman Moamer to leave power immediately,

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2011, 11:29 AM IST

Washington: Senior US diplomats are visiting
several African countries as part of continuing efforts to urge leaders there to press Libyan strongman Moamer to leave power immediately, officials said.

Having benefited financially from Gaddafi`s policies, a
number of African countries have been reluctant to call for
the longtime leader to step down and have criticised the
NATO-led military campaign in Libya.

Gene Cretz, the US ambassador who left Libya after
Kadhafi launched his bloody crackdown on the opposition in
February, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Donald Yamamoto arrived Monday in Addis Ababa, headquarters of
the African Union, State Department deputy spokesman Mark
Toner said.

The diplomats "are in Africa to meet with African Union members to discuss the crisis in Libya and the need for Gaddafi to relinquish power now," he said.

Toner said the pair met with Ethiopian Prime Minister
Meles Zenawi and would meet with African Union Chairman Jean
Ping before leaving Addis Ababa later.

They also met with Mahmud Jibril, leader of Libya`s
opposition National Transitional Council who was visiting
Ethiopia.

"They had a productive meeting on the current situation
in Libya and agreed on the importance of maintaining
international pressure on Gaddafi," Toner said.

During a visit to AU headquarters in June, US Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton pressed all African states to demand
Gaddafi to step down as well as to expel his diplomats and
increase African support for the opposition.

African leaders have publicly criticised NATO`s assault
on Gaddafi`s regime, with some accusing the alliance of
abusing the United Nations resolution that authorised its
bombing campaign.

PTI