Germany, France play down Libya differences

14th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany and France played down Thursday their differences over Libya as a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers kicked off in Berlin amid splits in the military alliance over the three-week-old mission.

"On Libya we have to be honest ... We have the same objective, and this objective is to allow the Libyan people to enjoy democratic freedoms," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told reporters.

"The divergences lie in the means of achieving this objective. We think that a military intervention was necessary ... We disagreed on this but at no point was trust or dialogue broken."

He added: "But we agree that there can only be a political solution."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "On the question of Libya, there is basically one core difference, and that is about the path to a common aim.

"Germany decided not to take part in a combat operation in Libya, but this does not mean we are neutral. Just like France and the international community, we believe that Libya can only have a good future if this dictator goes."

Germany, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, abstained last month on a resolution allowing all means to protect the civilian population in Libya from Moamer Kadhafi's forces.

Military action was spearheaded by France, the United States and Britain and has since become a NATO operation, with London and Paris pressing their alliance partners to do more.

© 2011 AFP

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