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Berlin resets Libya policy

The Local · 29 Aug 2011, 15:48

Published: 29 Aug 2011 15:48 GMT+02:00

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Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend an international conference on Libya's future in Paris on Thursday, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Seibert told a news conference "we will do everything we can" to provide humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people in the wake of the toppling of the Qaddafi regime.

"The German government is happy the rebels have been victorious," he added.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made plain his backing for NATO allies who intervened in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians, following a UN Security Council vote in March.

Germany, which occupies one of the council's rotating seats, abstained on the vote, the only European Union and NATO ally to do so.

"Our respect for France and our other allies in implementing resolution 1973 is all the greater as we had weighed differently the chances and the risks" involved by the intervention, Westerwelle acknowledged on the sidelines of a meeting Monday with French counterpart Alain Juppe.

The French minister, for his part, stressed that "it was only thanks to the international community's intervention that a real bloodbath was avoided."

Westerwelle meanwhile faced strong criticism in the German press for saying it was his country's support for international sanctions against Libya that had been key in winning victory for the uprising.

At the weekend he finally ate his words and publicly acknowledged that it was "the Libyans, with the help of the international military intervention, who toppled Qaddafi's regime."

The German minister, who in April relinquished his job as leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), the junior partner in the coalition government, now faces renewed questions over his future.

"A minister on probation," ran Monday's headline in the conservative Die Welt newspaper.

"Who will go first?" asked the left-wing Tageszeitung with front-page pictures depicting, side by side, Westerwelle and Qaddafi.

By finally recognizing NATO's leading role, Westerwelle "has probably won himself some time at the foreign ministry," said the Leipziger Zeitung. "But his political end, according to leading figures in his party, is near," it added.

The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper said Economy Minister Philipp Rösler, who took over from Westerwelle as FDP leader and vice-chancellor earlier this year, had suggested that deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer take over from Westerwelle.

Story continues below…

But Seibert Monday said reports of Westerwelle's likely resignation were "fictitious," adding that Merkel had "full trust in him."

There were no immediate details on what aid Germany might give Libya's National Transitional Council.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said Berlin had already earmarked €100 million euros' worth of aid for Libya, of which two-thirds had been spent.

He also suggested the international community would move to speed up the release of Libyan assets frozen abroad, adding that €1 billion of these were held in Germany alone.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:17 August 29, 2011 by twisted
Germany certainly wants to be in the right position to get some of those "rebuild Libya" contracts. Let others take the risks, while German tries to take the MONEY!!! I am so glad Germany is an upstanding member of NATO...friends you can depend on.
17:51 August 29, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Oh yeah. Those disloyal Germans again. Perhaps next time you come back when there is a real case of defense, and not a military intervention under the cloak of human rights, when in truth it¦#39;s all about distracting the public from France¦#39;s miserable North-Africa-policy in recent years, about boosting Sarkozy¦#39;s chances of reelection and about maintaining influence in the region. Why isn¦#39;t NATO taking action in Syria, where Assad is worse than Gaddafi? Country too strong? No easy campaign in sight?
17:58 August 29, 2011 by r2d2c3po
What a bunch of gutless hypocrites. Others helped with the fight while Germany sipped beer waiting for the war to end so they could then get some rebuilding contracts.
18:04 August 29, 2011 by raandy
Germany wanted no part of the struggle and should not have any part in the pie.

You reap what you sow, or you should.
18:39 August 29, 2011 by Beachrider
Libya was a tough call for Germany. The non-involvement was popular in the responses on this website, but many had wanted Germany to be more active in its alliances. Then, along comes Mr. Kohl with his broad criticism of Germany's position.

It only mattered to me that Germany engage its key alliance partners more constructively. Even though they missed-the-boat on helping-guide the NATO response, they should now get organized to be inside the post-Qaddafi reformation work. That means military and civilian investments quickly.

You don't have to do it, but it sounds like the Defense minister is swaying toward it.
21:05 August 29, 2011 by Major B
@ twisted

Right on you are. Right on point.

But Germany WILL get a share of those post-conflict contracts. There will be plenty of work for companies with the expertise.
21:10 August 29, 2011 by ryhntyntyn
All other arguments pro and con aside I am surprised at the editorial language used by The Local itself.

From the tagline:

"after failing to provide military assistance to the campaign against Muammar Qaddafi."

This presupposes that the German government was in some way supposed to be involved in Libya. The wisdom of the German decision notwithstanding, the Govt. was not in any way required to participate and as such certainly did not "fail" to provide military assistance. They chose not to.

I would expect that kind of editorial language from US or UK news outlets, not from this one. It's just words, but when words are all you work with because you are a news outlet then the standards are a little higher. Were this

an editorial then that kind of a lack of objectivity would be expected. But it's not an editorial and as such, it's falls short of good journalistic practice.
21:53 August 29, 2011 by karldehm
I just wonder why England, France and the US helped Libya? Was it for the contracts or to help the Libyan people. This story has not played itself out yet and may come back and bite them in the ass. Why hasn't NATO done anything about Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc., etc,.

I for one think it was the right decision to stay out of of the conflict. Haven't Iraq and Afghanistan taught us a valuable lesson. Get the hell out of Afghanistan before any more German lives are lost for a hopeless and useless cause.

Surely the Brits and French could have put the money they spent bombing Libya to better use trying to help their unemployed immigrants.

I don't see the Chinese or Russians trying to get involved militarily in something they have no business being in. But you can be sure they will be involved in the reconstruction.

I always like the quote of a general saying to his men, "forward! I'm right behind you". Of course, the general fails to say how far behind them he will be.
01:10 August 30, 2011 by Ludwig von America
So now comes Germany to get in on the spoils of war after NATO's annihilation of Qaddafi's military and handing of the country over to the "rebels" on a silver platter. In the beginning, I was proud of Germany's decision not to participate in this disgusting display of imperialism by Western powers. I thought Germany made a sound decision based on principle. Now that seems not to be the case as Germany becomes just another looter of Libyan oil wealth...which was the reason for NATO getting involved in the first place. If to think for one second it had anything to do with humanitarian issues, one is grossly mistaken.

Before Germany starts falling all over itself to join the victory party and kiss U.S. and France's ass, it might be a good idea to wait a little longer to see how this mess turns out. Now we will see the true nature of "rebels" unfold.
09:45 August 30, 2011 by lordkorner
Christ,if Germany was flexing her military muscle on the world stage and Merkel was going around strutting her stuff like the little French guy ,you would all have something else to complain about not to mention worry about.
10:08 August 30, 2011 by michael4096
These comments are funny. As though dropping bombs from an empty sky or launching a cruise missile is hard. Surely, the hard bit is not destroying the country but rebuilding it.

Even though I am against the 'violence is an answer to everything' attitude, I thought Germany should have joined 'the struggle' because it is a member of the UN and should act like one. It didn't. That is history. Now it will join the hard part of getting the country up and running again - bravo.

As far as the comments about contracts. Hypocrites! A fantastic reason for using your old stock of fireworks is so that you can award contracts for brand new fireworks!
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