Germany fears for civilians in Libya | Pakistan Today

Germany fears for civilians in Libya

BERLIN – Germany abstained from voting for a U.N. Security Council resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya because of worries there would be civilian victims like in Iraq and Afghanistan, Berlin said on Friday. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told parliament the centre-right government was determined that German troops would not take part in a military operation in Libya, and favoured instead tougher sanctions against the Libyan leader. “Any military operation brings civilian victims,” said the minister.
“We know that from painful experience. We have often talked about this regarding operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Germany said earlier on Friday it had abstained from the Security Council vote for a no-fly zone and military action to protect civilians, because it carried “considerable dangers and risks” and might not succeed in ousting Muammar Gaddafi. A foreign ministry spokesman said that in behind-the-scene talks ahead of the U.N. vote, Germany questioned “how effective a no-fly zone or eventual air strikes would be in ensuring the protection of civilians or bringing down the Gaddafi regime, and what would happen if these measures would not be enough”.
“Would ground troops then have to be sent in?” asked foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke at a regular news conference. Westerwelle sought to mollify Germany’s NATO allies like France for not backing them on Libya, by saying he “understands and respects our partners in the Security Council, the European Union and in the Arab League who, after weighing up all the arguments, came to a different conclusion than we did”. German politicians said Berlin might contribute indirectly to the international mission by freeing U.S. reconnaissance plane crews needed for Libya.
A proposal to send more German crews to Afghanistan to free up their American counterparts was being discussed in Merkel’s coalition on Friday, German coalition sources said. NATO is operating 24-hour surveillance of Libya with AWACS reconnaissance aircraft which are based in Germany, and about a third of the NATO AWACS crews are Germans. Boosting Germany’s AWACS crews in Afghanistan would require parliament’s approval, which could take some persuading since the Afghan mission is increasingly unpopular and the last annual vote on extending it showed growing resistance.

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