24 Aug 2011 - Story by Toivo Ndjebela
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WINDHOEK â€" Namibia would not rush into reviewing her diplomatic ties with Libya, despite the defection of that country's local embassy to the rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
Foreign Affairs Minister Utoni Nujoma yesterday told New Era that his office received a message from the Libyan embassy on Monday, notifying him of its defection to the rebels.
The defection left in limbo the status of the Libyan embassy in Windhoek and, by extension, the diplomatic ties that Namibia has enjoyed with Libya.
Nujoma said Namibia accepted the decision of the Libyan diplomats because it was their democratic right to side with whichever warring parties in their country.
It could not be established by yesterday evening if the defected diplomats have left the premises of the Libyan embassy to pave way for any new faces that the under-fire Gaddafi regime might put forth as replacements.
But since the announcement of the defection on Monday, New Era has tried on numerous occasions to contact the embassy but the calls went unanswered.
Nujoma did not rule out new diplomatic ties with the National Transitional Council
NTC), which is currently recognised in parts of the world as the authentic government of Libya.
"It would be pre-mature to recognise the NTC and to forge new diplomatic ties with them," Nujoma said yesterday.
"We still maintain the AU (African Union) position, which calls for an amicable solution to the Libyan situation," he added.
Nujoma said officially, Namibia still has diplomatic relations with the Gaddafi government.
"We will allow the people of Libya to decide themselves, but currently the status quo remains the same."
It is widely believed that the six-month civil strife in Libya is nearing an end and Nujoma is praying for NATO to leave the North African country as soon as the conflict ends.
"What we hope is the best for the people of Libya. We hope NATO will leave so that a democratic process is held in Libya to elect leaders," the foreign minister said.
He was adamant that unless a democratic process is held to elect a government in Libya, Namibia would not forge diplomatic ties with a regime that has been imposed on the people of Libya.
"Namibia will carefully consider her ties with any government that gets into power in Libya. We will not associate with anyone who gets into power through undemocratic means."