[Marxism] The BRICS and Libya

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 7 09:45:17 MDT 2011


Vijay Prashad:

At Hainan, in April, the BRICS powers strongly criticized NATO’s war on 
Libya, and formulated the principles that would appear in the African 
Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya’s  June 15 statement to the 
UN. BRICS held out for a negotiated settlement.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/prashad07072011.html

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NY Times June 22, 2011
China Moves Closer to Libyan Opposition
By KEITH BRADSHER

BEIJING — China’s foreign minister met here with the leader of Libya’s 
rebel opposition on Wednesday and said in a statement afterward that the 
opposition was “an important dialogue partner,” the latest in a series 
of Chinese moves to improve ties to the opposition.

Yang Jiechi, the foreign minister, declared after his meeting with the 
rebel leader, Mahmoud Jibril, that the opposition “has been increasingly 
representing the Libyan people and has gradually become an important 
political force in Libya.” Mr. Yang repeated China’s calls for a 
negotiated peaceful settlement to the conflict.

China has consistently preached nonintervention in recent years and has 
opposed international efforts to put pressure on even repressive 
governments like those in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Myanmar and North Korea. When 
the United Nations Security Council voted in March to authorize 
airstrikes against Colonel Qaddafi’s forces to prevent them from killing 
civilians in opposition areas, China was one of five countries that 
abstained.

China’s departure from its usual reticence toward political opposition 
groups has prompted significant discussion among experts on China’s 
foreign policy, with the main focus on the country’s shift from being an 
oil exporter as recently as the early 1990s to importing half its oil now.

“It’s unusual for them to negotiate with anyone other than the incumbent 
government, but clearly China has oil interests,” said Ben 
Simpfendorfer, the managing director of Silk Road Associates, an 
economic and political consultancy in Hong Kong that focuses on China’s 
relations with the Middle East.

Libya was a large oil exporter until the recent civil conflict halted 
shipments.

Mr. Yang said in his statement that China was not just looking out for 
its own interests. “China has no interest to seek any gain on the Libya 
issue,” he said in the statement. “China considers the crisis as 
internal politics of Libya. China believes that the future of Libya 
should be decided by the Libyan people.”

The statement on Wednesday said that Mr. Jibril had agreed that the 
opposition would protect the people and assets of Chinese companies in 
territory that the opposition controls.

Mr. Jibril is the chairman of the executive board of the Libyan 
opposition’s National Transitional Council.

Strong criticism of Colonel Qaddafi by other Arab countries, like Qatar, 
as well as efforts by African leaders to negotiate a settlement in Libya 
may have made China more willing to depart from its usual practice of 
avoiding contact with opposition groups, Mr. Simpfendorfer said.

China buys half of its oil and gas from the Middle East, and now buys 
more oil and oil products from Saudi Arabia, for example, than the 
United States does.

China also buys sizable quantities of oil from Libya, although less than 
it buys from Saudi Arabia. China purchased $4.45 billion worth of Libyan 
crude oil last year, according to data from Global Trade Information 
Services Inc., a data service based in Columbia, S.C.

China’s ambassador to Qatar, Zhang Zhiliang, met another Libyan 
opposition leader in Doha on June 2. Chen Xiaodong, the director general 
of the West Asian and North African Affairs Department of the Chinese 
Foreign Ministry, said a week later that China would welcome a visit by 
Libyan opposition envoys.

“China believes that the Libyan opposition National Transitional Council 
has become an important political force in Libya,” Mr. Hong said on 
Tuesday. “We would like to remain in contact with the N.T.C. and work 
towards a political solution.”




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