Germany has once again said that there can be no military solution to the ongoing crisis in Libya. As the contact group meeting on Libya opened in Doha, Berlin said it was ready to support a humanitarian mission.
Germany says there can be no military solution in Libya
Germany has once again made it clear that the crisis in Libya will not be resolved by military means
"We will not see a military solution," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on the sidelines of the Libya contact group meeting in Doha, adding that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had to go. Germany, he said, was "ready to support humanitarian action for the people of Libya."
Germany has been criticized for not taking part in NATO's military campaign, but said it would take part in an EU-led humanitarian mission, should the UN request it.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon warned delegates that as many as 3.6 million people in Libya could need humantarian aid and he urged the international community to "speak with one voice," on Libya.
In a separate move, Berlin has expelled five Libyan diplomats accused of intimidating Libyan citizens living in Germany. The Foreign Ministry said the five diplomats had to leave the country within seven days.
On Tuesday EU foreign ministers agreed to implement a de facto oil embargo against Gadhafi's embattled regime.
The EU added energy firms accused of financing Gadhafi's regime to its list of sanctions. The 27-nation bloc had already imposed sanctions against Libya's primary oil group, NOC, as well as four of its subsidiaries.
The sharpened oil sanctions come in addition to the travel bans on Gadhafi associates as well as a freeze on financial assets already imposed by Brussels.
UN turns down EU intervention
Meanwhile, the United Nations has declined an offer by the EU to organize a military mission aimed at easing humanitarian aid efforts in Libya.
Ashton says the UN has not asked for military help
The EU has drawn up plans for a naval mission, EUFOR Libya, but is waiting for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to authorize its deployment.
"If the United Nations asks us to help them with our military support, to get aid into the country, we are ready to do so," said EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton during the foreign ministers meeting.
"So far they said there is not a need," she continued.
Political solution needed
Europe's foreign ministers have increasingly focused on the need for a political solution in Libya as the NATO-led air campaign over the war-torn country has thus far proven unable to shift the balance of power firmly in favor of the rebels.
France and Britain, which are playing a lead role in the air operations, have criticized NATO for lacking a strategy to destroy Gadhafi's heavy weapons and have called for an intensification of airstrikes.
However, many EU foreign policy makers expressed skepticism toward this approach.
"It was never realistic to expect that the (NATO) air operation alone would solve the problems," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. "A political process is imperative."
However, rebels recently rejected an African Union peace plan, because it did not meet their demands for Gadhafi to leave power.
Author: Rob Mudge, Spencer Kimball (Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Michael Knigge