11 APR 2011
After taking a hard stance in abstaining from a UN Security Council vote on a no-fly zone over Libya, Germany looks set to agree to send troops to the war-torn country in a humanitarian role should the UN request it.
While joining Russia and China in abstaining, Berlin stood alone among Europe's biggest powers in the vote last month, angering traditional allies France, Britain and the US by stating that it did not want German soldiers to participate in military intervention in Libya.
The German government even ordered its warships away from the North African nation's coast in an effort to distance its forces from the international intervention that followed the vote.
The decision also caused controversy domestically with former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer claiming that he felt "ashamed" of the German government's "failure" to act. Other politicians across the political spectrum made public their fears that Germany had isolated itself internationally by abstaining and breaking ranks with the Western alliance.
It was even suggested by some that the German government wanted to avoid an unpopular military entanglement in the Middle East because of looming state elections, which both Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance and the free-market liberal FDP party, the junior party in the coalition, performed badly in.
However, despite the political wrangling, surveys showed that a majority of the public backed Germany's pacifist stance on Libya.
Read entire article