Germany wants to play key role in rebuilding Libya

AFP , Wednesday 24 Aug 2011

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says that Berlin is ready to play a key role in the reconstruction plans for Libya

Germany's foreign minister said Wednesday that Berlin, which came under fire from allies for its reticence during the Libyan uprising, is now ready to play a key role in rebuilding the country.

"Libya needs reconstruction to provide lasting stability for the country," Guido Westerwelle told the daily Passauer Neue Presse.

"Germany has experience and particular expertise in this area. We will stand by Libya with advice and assistance if it wishes."

Berlin offered a 100-million-euro loan to the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) Tuesday in its provisional capital, Bengazi, which Westerwelle said was aimed at "humanitarian and civil assistance".

Westerwelle insisted Germany had done its part in contributing to the apparently imminent end to Kadhafi's 42-year rule, although it refused to take part in military action in support of the rebels.

"We made our contribution to the upheaval using political means," he said. "The sanctions and international isolation played an important role. Kadhafi's regime was cut off from funds to replenish its coffers."

The UN Security Council in February adopted sanctions against Kadhafi and his closest associates, including a freezing of their assets and a travel ban, in response to a bloody crackdown against insurgents.

Westerwelle called Tuesday for a quick UN resolution to unblock the assets as a means of aiding the country's transition.

Germany, which has a non-permanent seat on the council, in March abstained in a vote authorising a Libya mission to shield civilians and enforce a no-fly zone.

It was the only European Union or NATO member to do so and provoked criticism from key allies including the United States and France.

Berlin even withdrew warships, refusing to let them participate in a NATO operation in the Mediterranean to enforce a UN-mandated arms embargo on Libya.

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