Germany sceptical on recognising Libya opposition

11th March 2011, Comments 1 comment

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

1 Comment To This Article

  • Paul Farrugia posted:

    on 11th March 2011, 16:11:23 - Reply

    Is it so difficult to realize that Khadafi can see what is going on in Europe with the fluffing about by the European members and the UN that he can carry on doing what he wants and by the time the a decision is taken the opposition are dead or tortured and it is too late to do anything for them so nothing will be done,and he has won again. Please stop fluffing about and help the people of Libya gain their freedom fairly not fighting tanks and aircraft with hand held weapons. Khadafi is breaking all the humanity rules and the EU an the UN are only finding excuses to not helping the majority of the Libyan people. If Khadafi forces were not in the western part of Libya in the force they are, the people there would be up in arms as well. History showed that this would happen. Why is it only the aircrafts from Tripoli that are attacking the fighters? Because that is the only place that is his stronghold with aircrafts. What about all the other military airports?