Most Germans support Libyan abstention

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26 Mar, 2011 Updated Sat 26 Mar 2011 11:00 CEST
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A majority of Germans support their government's decision not to take part in the military action against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, a survey revealed Saturday.

The Emnid survey, published by news magazine Focus, found that 56 percent think Germany was right to abstain from the United Nations Security Council vote on whether to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

Only 36 percent said Chancellor Angela Merkel's government was wrong to abstain.

But former politicians and senior German diplomats continue to condemn the government's move. Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called the abstention a "farce," while former Defence Minister Volker Rühe, of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), gave a particularly withering verdict.

"The pillars of CDU politics are being destroyed by a mixture of rudderlessness and incompetence," he told the latest edition of weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

Christian Schwarz-Schilling, former European Union commissioner to Bosnia, accused Merkel's centre-right government of "historic cynicism," by making a decision that would probably be more palatable to the electorate ahead of key state elections.

Focus also pointed out that high-ranking German officers are taking part in the operation, because they are stationed at NATO headquarters in Izmir, Turkey, from where the operation is being coordinated.

The German army, or Bundeswehr, said the officers had to stay there for operational reasons, and that their participation did not require permission from the German parliament. Their work was part of the Bundeswehr's permanent duty to NATO, and not part of the armed intervention in Libya, the army said.

DAPD/The Local/bk

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2011/03/26 11:00

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