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Foreign Minister Westerwelle pledges support for reconstruction in Libya (Interview)

In an interview with the newspaper Bild, the Foreign Minister speaks about the Libyan people’s yearning for freedom, the German commitment to the country’s reconstruction, and the future of the dictator Gaddafi. Published in the Bild newspaper, 23 August 2011

In Libya people are celebrating on the streets and Gaddafi’s hold on power appears to have been broken.So was the NATO mission the right thing to do after all?

What was above all the right thing is that people took to the streets in pursuit of freedom and democracy – Germany was on their side from the outset. And the policy of targeted sanctions which we have supported has clearly been effective in that the dictator ran out of funds to continue the war against his own people. And now the dictator needs to go.

From today’s perspective was Germany’s abstention in the UN Security Council really a wise decision?

Germany had decided that its combat troops would not take part in the intervention in Libya. This was the right decision. We supported change there through other means, political means.

or do we now have to contribute even more money to the reconstruction to make up for this?

Libya is a rich country: in Germany alone, seven billion euro in assets has been frozen. But we will nonetheless be engaged in the country’s reconstruction – as well as in building up the country’s democratic structures.

Will the transitional government be able to deliver lasting stability for the country?

This is the ultimate question. Even after the dictator Gaddafi has been toppled, that still doesn’t mean there’s democracy. We have to make progress towards democracy step by step. These steps include elections and building up a parliament. Democracy is what people took to the streets to fight for.

What should happen to the dictator now?

He should be put on trial.

Interview conducted by Rolf Kleine,reproduced with the kind permission of the Axel Springer Verlag.

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