Merkel wishes new Libyan PM luck with 'immense challenges'

7th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday congratulated Libya's new prime minister on his election, saying the country faced "immense challenges" ahead in its democratic reconstruction.

"The Libyan people now have the chance to build a new democratic Libya in peace and self-determination which respects the dignity and human rights of every individual," Merkel wrote to newly-elected Abdel Rahim al-Keib, according to a copy of the letter released by her office.

"To be able to use this chance is a path with immense challenges," she said, adding that Germany stood ready to support Libya "in coping with the numerous tasks".

Keib, an academic and wealthy businessman from Tripoli, was elected interim prime minister by the members of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) last week after eight months of conflict. He has pledged to make human rights a priority.

After spending decades abroad as an opponent of ex-strongman Moamer Kadhafi, he joined the pro-democracy revolution that overthrew him and replaces Mahmud Jibril who resigned three days after Kadhafi was captured and killed.

Germany controversially abstained in a March UN Security Council vote to authorise its NATO partners to extend a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent the slaughter of civilians -- the only European Union or NATO ally to do so.

But it has since pledged its support for the country's reconstruction in the post-Kadhafi era.

© 2011 AFP

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