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Merkel: Libyan reaction to UN 'encouraging'

The Local · 18 Mar 2011, 16:42

Published: 18 Mar 2011 16:42 GMT+01:00

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"There are already some encouraging reports that (Muammar) Qaddafi is reacting to the (UN) resolution," Merkel told reporters in a short statement.

Meeting on Thursday, the UN Security Council voted to permit "all necessary measures" to establish a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on Qaddafi's military. Germany, parting with its closest allies, abstained on the resolution.

"The world community however will look very closely to make sure we are not dealing here with diversionary tactics or tricks," the chancellor added. "We want a ceasefire and a lasting ceasefire so that Qaddafi's war against his own people comes to a swift end."

Earlier Friday, Libya's Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa announced an "immediate ceasefire and an immediate halt to all military operations."

Western and Arab nations were gearing up to launch air strikes after the UN approved action to stop Qaddafi from crushing the insurgency.

The UN Security Council resolution 1973 "demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians."

Kussa said Libya, as a member of the United Nations, was "obliged to accept the UN Security Council's resolutions."

But Merkel was also forced on Friday to defend her administration's decision not to back the resolution.

"As everyone know, Germany will not take part in the military intervention and only because of this ... we decided to abstain. We unreservedly share the aim of this resolution," Merkel said.

However, she added: "Our abstention should not be confused with neutrality."

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said earlier on Friday that Germany's international partners understood Berlin's choice not to support for the UN resolution.

"I can assure you that we had respect and understanding for our position and our decision even from those that voted in favour" of the resolution permitting the no-fly zone, Westerwelle said.

He added: "I have great understanding for the motives of those that voted for the resolution and the military action. But after weighing up the risks... we came to the conclusion that German soldiers would not contribute to the intervention in Libya and therefore we decided to abstain for this reason, and for other reasons."

Speaking later in parliament, Westerwelle warned that any military intervention would result in civilian deaths.

"There is no so-called surgical strike. Any military intervention will cause civilian casualties," he said.

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Referring explicitly to Iraq and Afghanistan, he called on the international community to "learn the lessons from recent history."

Five countries on the 15-strong council abstained, including permanent members China and Russia, who did not use their veto power. India and Brazil also abstained in addition to Germany.

"The decision was not taken lightly," Westerwelle told deputies. "We are not in a position to do away with dictators everywhere in the world. But we are in a position to raise our voice and make it clear to people that we are on their side," he said.

Responding to accusations that Germany was isolated within the European Union and the NATO alliance with its actions, Westerwelle said the decision to deploy troops was one the country alone could take.

AFP/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:06 March 18, 2011 by tallady
I would prefer not to hear anything she or any other German politician has to say concerning Libya. They made their position clear enough.
17:09 March 18, 2011 by mhdamro
oh you are so naive ... today ... only 2 hours after gaddafi announced cease fire ... he bombarded the cities of Misrata , Zintan , and Zwarah ... 42 civilians killed .... !!!!!! he is fooling you .... LADY GAGA .... !!!!!!!!!!!
18:52 March 18, 2011 by inccmdr
Very difficult to believe that Germany abstained from the vote.
18:58 March 18, 2011 by Expat IV
BS is BS and hypocrisy and cowardice are hypocrisy and cowardice whatever Frau Merkel deems to call them. Of course Germany has diplomatically isolated itself--how else can one look at it? The UN, NATO, even the Arab League support the "no-fly" zone. Germany chose to align itself with China and Russia when it came to putting its money where its mouth is. By doing so, Germany has given up the right to any voice in how the situation is handled from here onward. So, in undiplomatic but clear and honest words, "Germany, shut up and sit down."
20:21 March 18, 2011 by mrichter
Who said anything about deploying troops? All parties have already stated there would be no troops on the ground. Germany...you are just trying to justify your stance of not backing up your allies, and more importantly as a NATO member you should stand with NATO, or GET OUT!!
21:58 March 18, 2011 by Expat IV
Having just re-read this article I am more incensed. Westerwelle's incredible statement, " We are not in a position to do away with dictators everywhere in the world. But we are in a position to raise our voice and make it clear to people that we are on their side"is beyond contemptible. In other words, "Oh you poor babies. This is so terrible, but know that we feel for you."

Such unabashed cowardice is beyond belief. Germany has lost an inestimable amount of respect on the world stage that will take years for for it to regain by watching people being murdered while wringing its hands and saying, "Oh, how terrible" and doing absolutely nothing. I suppose you would do the same if you came across a person being beaten on the street by a group of thugs. Cold, heartless, gutless, cowardly--- the stream of invective is not sufficient to describe Germany's stance.
00:00 March 19, 2011 by fryintl
Expat IV: I suppose you would do the same if you came across a person being beaten on the street by a group of thugs. ....Or in a train station.

I am reading the comments and they are convincing me that Merkel did a wrong move. I was convinced that if you can't go in and make things happen, and you only used bombs and missiles, you should go in. I mean, you cant win a war from teh air, you need to be on the ground to ensure there is an end to the agggression. BUt, I am seeing that if NATO did say yes, Germany should have done so too. A partnership is a partnership and if you don't honor it now, when there is no grave danger to your people, would you when the chips are down?

I have changed my mind based on the input to this article, and I think you all for the edificaiton.
01:30 March 19, 2011 by Expat IV

All of our comments here illustrate the purpose of the Comments section. We readers of various political and national backgrounds present our varying views on subjects for consideration by others. Often, our comments become "lively", but I believe the goal is that of learning from one another. I believe that reading others' comments helps me to reflect and see things from a point of view other than my own, and I appreciate that opportunity.

No, I would not ignore a person being hurt. I wound up in a Turkish police station a few years because I stopped to rescue a woman from being beaten by a man as a crowd watched. It resulted in the man breaking the windshield of my car with a concrete block. The Turkish police chief told me that the next time I witnessed something like it I should ignore it. I asked him what I should do if the woman were his wife or daughter. He had no reply. Failure to at least make an attempt to come to the aid of a fellow human being is inhumanity.
07:53 March 19, 2011 by delvek
I am confused ... what is the West, infidels or hero's? Good job Germany, let the Arab league take care of it, get out of the business of being everything to everyone.
14:04 March 19, 2011 by tallady
delvek ,germany hasn't been anything to anyone,so no fear about being everything to everyone.
17:31 March 19, 2011 by Englishted
Westerwelle told deputies. "We are not in a position to do away with dictators everywhere in the world. But we are in a position to raise our voice and make it clear to people that we are on their side," he said.

If people before you had the same guts as you ,the World would be different,and where would gay right be? spineless ,gutless ,clueless,leave please.
22:23 March 19, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, with Germany being a major part of NATO, I'm also surprised that Germany did not support the No-Fly Zone. Second, the slow response by NATO and the UN, is clear indication that world government agencies lack the necessary intelligence to deal with global problems. With the world being so connected, it's imperative that we have the very brightest minds as leaders.

The truth is, the No-Fly zone should have be implemented near the beginning.

It was especially America's opportunity, to defeat Qaddfi and bring him to trial for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. Most of the more than 200 passengers and crew were Americans .

All of what I'm saying here is very simple. Therefore, I find it quite bizzare, that government leaders don't understand this. Sehr Leider!
17:33 March 20, 2011 by wenddiver
Libyan reaction to UN 'encouraging'

Reaction to 150 Tomahawk Cruise missiles even more encouraging.
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