Tripoli slams German minister's Benghazi visit

14th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya's foreign ministry Tuesday denounced the visit to rebel stronghold Benghazi by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle as a "violation" of Tripoli's sovereignty.

Condemning Monday's visit as "irresponsible", the ministry said it represented "a flagrant violation of national sovereignty, an interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation and member of the United Nations, and is contrary to international norms and convention."

In a statement issued in Tripoli, the ministry said such a trip "does not help efforts by regional and international organisations to find a peaceful solution to what is happening in Libya."

During his visit to Benghazi, eastern seat of the Libyan rebellion, Westerwelle said Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi "had lost all legitimacy".

Westerwelle said after meeting rebel leaders that Berlin recognises their National Transitional Council as the "legitimate representative" of the Libyan people.

"We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without Kadhafi," added Westerwelle, who also announced the opening of a German diplomatic representation in Benghazi.

Germany becomes the 13th nation to recognise the NTC after Australia, Britain, France, Gambia, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Qatar, Senegal, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Berlin abstained from a UN Security Council resolution vote on March 17 backing intervention in Libya and chose not to join the NATO-led air war, but Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said last week it would be ready to consider sending peacekeeping troops to Libya if and when Kadhafi falls.

In Amman, NTC chairman Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jalil told reporters Germany's recognition "will definitely boost international support for the Libyan revolt."

"Such political gains are key to the revolt and prove that Kadhafi's regime has finished," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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