The crisis in Libya cannot be resolved militarily, Germany’s foreign minister said in Beijing calling for efforts for a political solution for the oil-rich North African nation.
Germany broke ranks with the United States, France and Britain and joined China, Russia, India and Brazil in abstaining on a United Nations vote authorising the use of force to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and protect civilians.
“The Libyan situation cannot be resolved by military means,” Guido Westerwelle told reporters after meeting his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, according to a pool report.
“There can only be a political resolution and we must get the political process under way. That should begin with a ceasefire that Gaddafi must heed to allow the peace process to begin,” he said.
Westerwelle said at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting last month that Arab League criticism of the air strikes had vindicated Germany’s reluctance to back the action, Reuters reports.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang said China was “worried by continued reports of deaths and injuries among civilians and continuing clashes,” and repeated that the crisis “must be dealt with appropriately by diplomatic and political means.”
Berlin had long said it did not believe a no-fly zone or air strikes would be successful in driving Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi out or protecting Libyan civilians.
Westerwelle has dismissed claims that Berlin was isolated after refusing to join its NATO allies in staging military strikes on Libya.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to opt out of any military action in Libya has drawn criticism at home, putting the government on the defensive over a policy that opinion polls suggest should be popular with voters.