German warships will not take part in Libya embargo drive

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Germany said on Tuesday its warships will not participate in a NATO operation in the Mediterranean to enforce a UN-mandated arms embargo on Libya.

"NATO has decided to impose an arms embargo on Libya, which could have concrete results and lead to an eventual recourse to arms. Germany will not take part in this," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

"The ministry has decided to place two frigates and two ships in the Mediterranean under national command," he added.

The two frigates, Lubeck and Hamburg, are part of NATO's Active Endeavour operation to stem terrorist activities in the region.

The spokesman said: "For the time being, these vessels will remain in the Mediterranean and we have not decided where they will go."

There are about 550 defence personnel aboard the four ships.

NATO agreed Tuesday to use naval and air power to enforce an arms embargo on Libya.

The NATO forces will monitor, report and, if needed, "interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries", said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"All allies are committed to meet their responsibilities under the United Nations resolution to stop the intolerable violence against Libyan civilians," Rasmussen said.

He said NATO had completed plans to help enforce the no-fly zone "to bring our contribution, if needed, in a clearly defined manner, to the broad international effort to protect the people of Libya from the violence of the Kadhafi regime".

Germany, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, abstained in a vote on Thursday to permit "all necessary measures" to establish a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on Moamer Kadhafi's military.

© 2011 AFP

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