Germany sceptical on recognising Libya opposition
Germany's foreign minister Friday urged caution on the issue of recognising the Libyan opposition, as London and Paris called for Europeans to ramp up pressure on strongman Moamer Khadafi.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Guido Westerwelle said: "I advise everyone to look very closely to see if these people who say they represent the people are really speaking in the name of the people."
"Certain members of the opposition were until recently members of the Khadafi regime," added the minister.
"We absolutely need to know in what direction these new forces want to go. Do they want a democracy? An election? A transformation?" asked Westerwelle.
He said the views of other countries in the region were also crucial. "We should not go faster and show more zeal than the affected countries in the area," he said.
Westerwelle spoke as an EU summit was under way in Brussels to thrash out a European response to the Libya crisis.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy went into the talks urging partners to extend formal recognition to Libya's opposition while working on contingency planning for military action.
In a surprise move, Sarkozy said Paris and London favoured targeted strikes in Libya in the event of Kadhafi bombing his own people.
On this point too, Westerwelle reiterated Germany's cautious position.
Speaking about a proposed no-fly zone over Libya, he said: "A no-fly zone is not like putting up a traffic sign, it is an attack with bombs, with rockets, with weapons."
"And what would we do when it doesn't work? Would we then go in with ground troops? I am very sceptical about this," he said.
"Before one goes into a war, you really need to have thought through things to the end."
© 2011 AFP