German foreign minister under fire after Libya U-turn | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 28.08.2011
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German foreign minister under fire after Libya U-turn

Germany's Free Democratic Party have denied they are trying to oust foreign minister and party member Guido Westerwelle. The foreign minster has faced widespread criticism for his U-turn on NATO intervention in Libya.

Guido Westerwelle

Guido Westerwelle has survived another day as foreign minister

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's Free Democratic Party (FDP) denied reports on Sunday that they were seeking to replace the beleaguered minister.

"Rumors about an imminent replacement do not correspond to reality," FDP party sources told German news agency DAPD.

Westerwelle made a sharp U-turn on Sunday, acknowledging NATO's key role in Libya's struggle against Moammer Gadhafi.

Party pressure

Philipp Rösler

Rösler was the first of Merkel's team to explicitly praise NATO

In the Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Westerwelle offered long-awaited praise for the "help provided by the international military mission."

He had previously come under fire for preferring instead to credit Germany's support of UN economic sanctions for assisting the Libyan revolution.

FDP leader, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Philipp Rösler, confirmed that he had strongly urged the foreign minister to recognize the positive impact of military intervention.

Rösler himself became the first member of Merkel's center-right coalition to explicitly praise NATO on Friday.

Standing on the sidelines

Berlin opted to abstain from a UN resolution in March to initiate a no fly-zone in Libya, shocking NATO allies Britain, France and the US.

Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer described Westerwelle's opposition to the air campaign on Saturday as the biggest foreign policy mistake in Germany's post-war history.

Fischer's comments came after calls for Westerwelle's resignation on Thursday from former Interior Minister Gerhart Baum and former Rhineland-Palatinate Economics Minister Hans-Artur Bauckhage, both fellow FDP members.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (Reuters, dpa, dapd)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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