Reports Libya reacting to UN 'encouraging': Merkel
Reports that Libya is reacting to a United Nations resolution are "encouraging", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, after Tripoli declared a ceasefire in its battle against rebels.
"There are already some encouraging reports that Kadhafi is reacting to the (UN) resolution," Merkel told reporters in a short statement.
The UN Security Council on Thursday voted to permit "all necessary measures" to establish a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on Kadhafi's military.
"The world community however will look very closely to make sure we are not dealing here with diversionary tactics or tricks," the chancellor added.
"We want a ceasefire and a lasting ceasefire so that Kadhafi's war against his own people comes to a swift end," she said.
Earlier Friday, Libya's Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa announced an "immediate ceasefire and an immediate halt to all military operations."
Western and Arab nations were gearing up to launch air strikes after the UN approved action to stop Kadhafi from crushing the insurgency.
Its resolution 1973 "demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians."
Kussa said Libya, as a member of the United Nations, was "obliged to accept the UN Security Council's resolutions."
Germany abstained on the resolution.
"As everyone knows, Germany will not take part in the military intervention and only because of this ... we decided to abstain. We unreservedly share the aim of this resolution," Merkel said.
However, she added: "Our abstention should not be confused with neutrality."
She also hinted that Germany could send crews to man NATO surveillance planes in Afghanistan (AWACS) to free up alliance resources for military action against Libya.
"We made clear our 'no' to military measures," she said.
"What we are now discussing with NATO is whether we could take over some of NATO's tasks within the framework of the total burden on NATO, for example in the field of the AWACS in Afghanistan," added Merkel.
The deployment of German crews to operate the Airborne Warning and Control System planes would require parliamentary approval as it would alter Germany's deeply unpopular mission in Afghanistan.
The chancellor also said she would attend a crunch high-level meeting in Paris to discuss Libya.
The leaders of several leading European countries, as well as UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the Arab League and a representative of US President Barack Obama will also take part, added Merkel.
© 2011 AFP