Last updated in August 2012
Following the outbreak of the crisis in Libya in late February 2011, political and diplomatic relations with the Libyan government were not initially severed but were suspended to all intents and purposes. During the visit to Benghazi by Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Federal Development Minister Niebel on 13 June 2011, Germany recognized Libya’s National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Federal Economics Minister Rösler visited Libya on 12 and 13 October 2011 accompanied by a business delegation. On 8 January 2012, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle met with representatives of Libya’s interim government in Tripoli and reaffirmed German support for the new Libya.
A fresh start after the fall of Gaddafi
Libya is set to make a fresh start following the fall of the Gaddafi regime. The fighting has left deep wounds in Libyan society. At the same time, however, the country has to rebuild its state structures. Germany provided assistance in this critical situation by making available rapid humanitarian aid, and it is supporting state-building as part of the international community’s efforts.
Assistance in rebuilding state structures
Germany is actively helping Libya to rebuild state structures. Under the aegis of the United Nations, the international community has offered Libya specialized support and guidance in the reconstruction process. Germany has seconded experts to these missions. In addition, Germany is fostering the establishment of a civil society in Libya through targeted projects – for example, promoting new media or providing constitutional advice.
Humanitarian aid and the disposal of weapons
Immediately after the outbreak of fighting in February, Germany provided humanitarian aid to the tune of EUR 8 million in an effort to alleviate the immediate suffering of those affected.
In addition, Germany is helping to dispose of munitions and mines as well as securing chemical weapons and radioactive sources.
That is why the Federal Foreign Office is providing, among other things, EUR 750,000 in start-up funding to support the development of a Libyan Mine Action Centre (LMAC) to secure weapons, munitions, landmines and remnants of war. The specific project being financed is the establishment of the centre’s headquarters in Tripoli and of regional branches in Benghazi, Zentan, Misrata and Sabha. In the short term, the centre is to use mobile teams to clear mines and secure remnants of war; in the longer term, it is to destroy small arms and munitions.
The plundering and uncontrolled proliferation of weapons and munitions from the Gaddafi regime’s stockpiles is an urgent arms control policy problem that poses a lasting threat to the country’s reconstruction. Germany is especially interested in securing man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles whose proliferation endangers aviation security around the world.
Capacity building in disarmament and arms control
With this project, Germany is making a key contribution to capacity building in Libya in the area of arms control and disarmament. Training measures will also further develop capacities in the future. The project is indispensable to the overall goal of securing conventional weapons and munitions in the wake of the chaos of the civil war.
Since October 2011, Germany has also been supporting a number of humanitarian mine and ordnance clearance projects, providing some EUR 2 million for this purpose.
Through this funding, the German Federal Government is helping Libya’s National Transitional Council to prevent the possible future use, theft or abuse of mine stockpiles, thus also helping safeguard the country’s reconstruction process.