Germany declines to send its forces to strife-torn Libya

"Germany will not send its soldiers for a military intervention in Libya," its Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

Defending his government's decision to abstain from the voting on the latest UNSC resolution on the Libyan crisis, Westerwelle said "we remain extremely skeptical" about a military involvement there.

"Germany abstained from the voting because it has no intention to get involved militarily in the conflict there," the Foreign Minister said in a policy statement before the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.

Besides Germany, India, China, Russia and Brazil also abstained from the voting, enabling a smooth passage of the resolution backing "all necessary measures" except occupation to protect the civilian population in Libya from Muammar Gaddafi-led forces. The resolution got 10 votes in the 15-member UN Security Council.

Westerwelle said his government took the decision to abstain out of concern that a military involvement "harbours considerable danger and risks" and therefore "we cannot support this part of the resolution."

But Germany continues to support the text of the resolution calling for further intensifying the international sanctions against the repressive regime of Gaddafi, he said.

The minister emphasised Germany’s position on the unfolding crisis in Libya has not changed and demanded Gaddafi to immediately end all violence against Libyan people.

Westerwelle also asked the Libyan leader to step down and "face the consequences for his crimes." The minister rejected criticisms from opposition that Germany has isolated itself from its partners by abstaining in the UNSC vote. It is the only member-nation of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) to do so.

Germany’s partners have shown "respect and understanding" for its decision, he added.

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