Germany demands share in Libyan reconstruction
German FM Guido Westerwelle (L) pledges support for Libya after meeting with NTC leader Jalil on Jan 8. REUTERS photoGerman Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Jan. 8 his country was ready to contribute to the reconstruction of Libya following the collapse last year of Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year rule.
“For the new Libya, it is in some ways a new beginning,” he said during his first visit since the National Transitional Council took the power. “We want to be there to ensure that you seize your opportunities,” said Westerwelle, who travelled to Libya with a delegation of business leaders.
Germany in March 2011 abstained in a U.N. Security Council vote to slap a no-fly zone over Libya, the only European Union and NATO country to oppose direct military intervention in the conflict there. According to diplomatic sources, interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib expressed interest in German expertise in renewable energy technology. Westerwelle visited Algeria Jan. 7 and was expected in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring still sweeping across the region started, yesterday.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir Jan. 8 warned that Libya must be wary of the remnants of Gadhafi’s regime, saying his country was “afraid” for the Libyan people. “We are afraid for the Libyan people... the remnants of Gadhafi’s regime are still present,” Agence France-Presse quoted Bashir as saying in the eastern city of Benghazi where the revolt against Gadhafi erupted last February.
Bashir, wanted internationally for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, said that these remnants of Gadhafi had benefitted under his regime and so posed threat to the new Libya. “They benefitted from the regime. They stole Libyan money and accumulated it. They are present in and outside Libya. They lost their interests, so be careful of them,” said Bashir, on the second day of a visit to Libya.
Bashir said Libya was going through a “very critical” period. “All Libyans believe that the issue is over... but the most important part now is to build the state from zero,” he said, adding that the new rulers had the task to set up executive and legislative institutions. Bashir, who had uneasy ties with Gadhafi’s regime, said in Tripoli on Jan. 7 that Gadhafi’s ouster was the “best gift” given to Sudan by Libyans. He has previously claimed that Sudan provided weapons to help oust Gadhafi.