European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso. Picture: Getty Images
European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso defended NATO's campaign in Libya as a "moral duty", against criticism in South Africa over the bombing.
"Libya is very close to Europe, and when the leader is going to massacre his people, it created indignation," he said at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
"We have a moral duty" to step in, he said.
Barroso appeared at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg along with South Africa's last white president, FW De Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for ending the racist apartheid regime.
Libya figured prominently in discussions on Thursday at the EU-South Africa summit, which Barroso attended.
President Jacob Zuma has harshly criticised NATO's bombing campaign, saying the alliance overstepped the mandate of a no-fly zone imposed by the United Nations.
South Africa has so far refused to recognise Libya's new leadership following the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, although after the summit the two sides said they agreed that the country's future should be determined by its people. -AFP