South Africa president criticizes UN over Libya

By the Associated Press | January 12, 2012 | 3:45 PM EST

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — South African President Jacob Zuma says the African Union was completely ignored by the U.N. Security Council when it allowed NATO's bombing campaign to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Zuma made his comments to the 15-member council where South Africa currently holds the presidency during a debate on relations between U.N. and the A.U. on Thursday.

South Africa has been critical of the NATO bombing campaign saying that when it voted for the U.N. resolution approving a no-fly zone to protect civilians, it had not intended to authorize regime change.

A spokesman for the U.S. mission disputed Zuma's characterization of the campaign saying it "saved tens of thousands of innocent civilians from slaughter."