Germany presses for 'total' oil embargo on Libya

24th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany, which refused to vote for UN Resolution 1793, Thursday called for a "total" oil embargo on Moamer Kadhafi's regime as some of its EU partners urged an upgrade in recognition of Libyan rebels.

"There's a form of give-and-take being negotiated between these positions" at a European Union summit taking place Thursday and Friday in Brussels, a diplomatic source said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the summit calling on her 26 partners to tighten the noose on Kadhafi by stiffening oil sanctions.

"I'm strongly in favour of the European Union agreeing a total oil embargo" against Libya, she said, reiterating a speech to the Bundestag earlier.

The EU this week slapped the latest in a series of sanctions against the country's oil wealth, notably targeting its top oil firm, the National Oil Corporation.

A diplomatic source said Berlin's call to step up sanctions followed criticism at home against Merkel's refusal to sign up to the international military coalition.

Germany moreover, unlike partners such as Italy, has no economic interests at stake in Libya.

The countries taking part in military action, such as Britain, France and Italy, are less inclined to step up sanctions, said an EU diplomat who asked not to be named.

France however is expected to press for the EU to add political weight to anti-Kadhafi insurgents in the interim transition council by recognising them as "legitimate" rather than merely "political" interlocutors -- the status decided at an EU summit earlier this month.

Earlier in Brussels, Germany's Europe Minister Werner Hoyer said, speaking English: "In the medium term the question of flows of fresh money into the pockets of Kadhafi and his people is a decisive point for his chance to survive the situation.

"We believe that beyond the military activities legitimised by the UN Security Council it is necessary to speed up the process of sanctions against Mr Kadhafi, knowing well that the effect of these sanctions takes more time," he added.

"We will not be satisfied with a solution where at the end we are able to stop Kadhafi from further torturing his people and going against his own people while staying in power and leaving the country in a mess," he added.

"So it's necessary to move up with the non military activities as well and there I think lies the role of the EU."

© 2011 AFP

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