and Siki Kigongo
THE Government has said the political situation unfolding in Libya will not affect its relations with the Arab state.
The Government, however, expressed that the North African country does not degenerate into divisions and civil war.
â€œOur relationship with Libya does not change. Uganda does not recognise individuals, but states. We shall continue to deal with Libya irrespective of who is in charge,â€ international relations minister Henry Okello Oryem said yesterday.
The Government further observed that it was unfortunate that the Africa Union (AU) roadmap to a peaceful end to the conflict was ignored by both the rebels and NATO.
Uganda was a member of the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee on Libya whose mandate was to push for a political solution to the conflict in Libya.
President Yoweri Museveni, a close ally to Gadaffi, attended some of the committee meetings.
Oryem explained that the AU committee tried to bring the rebels, who had a strong-hold on Benghazi then, and the Gadaffi regime to the negotiating table, but in vain.
He said Gadaffi welcomed dialogue, but the rebels and NATO demanded that the Libyan leader first steps down.
â€œWe tried to market the AU roadmap to NATO and they insisted that it would work when Gadaffi steps down. We wanted a ceasefire, dialogue and debate on a new constitution. It is unfortunate that the roadmap was not followed,â€ Oryem said.
The minister said much as Gadaffi had been a great friend, Uganda could not directly meddle in the affairs of Libya or interfere with the aspirations of the Libyan people.
â€œThatâ€™s why we worked through AU,â€ he commented.
Oryem said the Ugandan mission will stay in Tripoli just like the Libyan embassy remains in Kampala.
â€œOur staff are safe. They contact us and give us updates on the situation in Tripoli,â€ Oryem clarified.
Moses Kiwe Ssebunya is Ugandaâ€™s ambassador to Libya.
The Libyan Africa Portifolio has a number of businesses in Uganda. Most prominent are National Housing Corporation, Soluble Coffee Plant, Tropical Bank, House of Dawda, Uganda Pharmaceuticals, Uganda Telecom, Lake Victoria Hotel Entebbe and the Tamoil.
Oryem explained that the businesses are safe as they are owned by the Libyan government. The UN in February slammed sanctions on Libya and its businesses abroad.
The UN accused Gadaffi of plotting reprisal killings in the wake of an uprising against his government.
The situation in Libya on Monday reached what was described as a â€˜tipping pointâ€™ when rebels gained control of much of Tripoli.
Excited rebels moved into the centre of Tripoli as Gadaffiâ€™s defenders melted. Thousands of jubilant civilians rushed out of their homes to cheer the fighters shooting in the air.
The Green Square which has now been renamed Martyrsâ€™ Square by the rebels had been the site of night rallies by Gadaffiâ€™s supporters throughout the uprising.
Government maintains ties with Libya