FDP leadership backs beleaguered Westerwelle

Guido Westerwelle’s Free Democratic Party is sticking with him, despite speculation that the party wanted to replace Germany's beleaguered foreign minister.

FDP leadership backs beleaguered Westerwelle
Photo: DPA

“Rumours about an imminent replacement do not correspond to reality,” according to information from FDP party sources provided to the DAPD news agency Sunday.

Westerwelle came under renewed criticism last week over his statements regarding German policy in Libya, in which he appeared to credit German support of UN sanctions as key to the ousting of Libyan leader Muammar Quadaffi rather than the NATO air campaign he opposed.

In numerous telephone calls, FDP leader Philipp Rösler urged Westerwelle to clarify his statements. Rösler, Germany’s vice chancellor and economy minister, was the first member of Merkel’s centre-right coalition explicitly to praise Berlin’s NATO allies for their efforts against Qaddafi on Friday.

“We owe our deepest respect and gratitude to our allies who decisively stopped Qaddafi’s murderous forces,” he told the daily Passauer Neue Presse.

On Saturday, Westerwelle was finally compelled to offer his praise for the NATO effort in Libya. Germany refused to participate in the military mission to protect civilians in Libya.

Berlin’s decision to abstain from a UN resolution in March shocked Germany’s closest allies, the United States, Britain, and France. Westerwelle and Chancellor Angela Merkel have since face a barrage of criticism, including from Merkel’s mentor Helmut Kohl last week.

Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Saturday said the decision was perhaps the biggest foreign policy mistake in Germany’s post-war history.

DAPD/The Local/mw

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