Major challenges facing Libya
On the second leg of his travels in North Africa, Foreign Minister Westerwelle has been in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to gain a first-hand impression of the post Gaddafi situation and reaffirm Germany’s support for the new Libya.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle with Prime Minister al‑Keib
The German Foreign Minister is engaging in political talks to this end with Libya’s interim government under Prime Minister Abdurrahim el Keib and representatives of civil society. Libya has undergone great sacrifice to overthrow the Gaddafi regime and set out towards a better future. After decades of dictatorship, the country is now facing tremendous challenges – from securing its weaponry to integrating the militias into a regular army and developing the structures necessary to uphold the rule of law. The greatest challenge will now be to climb out of the wreckage of dictatorship and move successfully and democratically towards a pluralist society.
The German Foreign Minister reiterated his assurances in Tripoli:
Germany stands by the new Libya as its friend and partner, to aid Libya’s successful reconstruction and its move towards democracy in both society and politics.
Germany is supporting democratic change
The German Government is providing extensive assistance for reconstruction and democratic change in Libya. Even while the fighting was still going on there, the Federal Foreign Office made available, for example, funds for emergency humanitarian aid totalling 8 million euro. The German Government also provided the National Transitional Council with a loan of 100 million euro. The money was principally used for medical care for the wounded, and now that Libya’s central bank has been removed from the sanctions lists, the National Transitional Council has paid it back.
... as well as helping to deal with weapons stockpiles
The German Government is also helping the interim government to destroy small arms and secure stockpiles of chemical weapons. In November 2011, for instance, it provided financial support for an inspection in Libya by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Economic and cultural cooperation
After the revolution in Libya: young people need prospects for the future
Germany stands ready to support Libya’s economic reconstruction too. Foreign Minister Westerwelle was therefore accompanied by a business delegation from the renewable energy and medical technology sectors. Westerwelle highlighted Germany’s desire to “make our contribution to ensuring Libya’s positive economic development”. After all, he said, Libya and its younger generation in particular needed prospects, and German businesses coming to Libya were finding “open doors”.
In his talks with his Libyan opposite number, Guido Westerwelle also addressed the possibility of opening a Goethe-Institut in Libya and intensifying the two countries’ collaboration in academia. This would encompass, for example, the promotion of the German language at Libya’s universities.
Other stops on the journey
Before going to Libya, Minister Westerwelle visited Algeria on 7 January and encouraged that country’s Government to undertake further reforms. There too, the agenda included not only political relations but also Algeria’s economic prospects and possible projects for collaboration with Germany. The final leg of his journey in North Africa takes the German Foreign Minister to Tunisia. It was there that the change which has since swept across the Arab world was sparked almost a year ago.
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Last updated 08.01.2012