Merkel rapped for Libya abstention, but public supports her
Senior German politicians have criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's diplomacy over the Libyan conflict, but a poll unveiled Saturday indicated a majority of Germans back her. dpa reported
Germany abstained in the March 17 UN vote to impose a no-fly zone on Libya and later withdrew part of its military from NATO control so that no German personnel would take part in the operations.
The survey, by the Emnid company for Focus magazine, found 56 per cent of Germans agreed with Merkel and 36 per cent disapproved.
Both the opposition and some senior supporters have contended in recent days that Merkel's stance damages the western alliance and undermines efforts to create a common European Union foreign policy.
Volker Ruehe, a former defence minister and elder member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), called the abstention "a blunder on an historic scale," the news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.
Another party elder, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, former EU special representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, accused Merkel of "historic cynicism," saying the no-fly zone was set up to prevent a bloodbath.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the leader of the opposition, has been more moderate. The parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats said during the week that the Merkel government's diplomacy on Libya was "disoriented."
The Social Democrats have said Merkel's diplomacy "unnecessarily" undermined the joint European position on the Libya crisis, but they have also been disapproving of the military operation, now led by NATO, against Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's forces.
"I am not sure that in the end it will really help the people in Libya," Steinmeier said in a television studio debate. dpa jbp mis Author: Jean-Baptiste Piggin