More German troops to go to Afghanistan
The German parliament has approved sending more troops to Afghanistan, paving the way for NATO forces to leave the country for the Libya operation, Press TV reported.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle defended Berlin's decision to be a relief to NATO forces, saying they can focus on the military operation in the war-hit North African nation, a Press TV correspondent reported on Friday.
"We will not send German soldiers to Libya, but that does not mean that we will put our allies in danger. We do not want to seem neutral. We helped them by sending our troops to Afghanistan," said Westerwelle in an address to the national parliament.
Some 407 lawmakers voted in favor of the move, with 113 against it and 32 others -- mostly from the Green Party -- abstained.
Germany had earlier abstained from voting for the United Nations Security Council's resolution of a no-fly zone over Libya.
"Even if this topples the dictator [Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi], we know from experience that this will lead to a ground offensive. This is the reason why Germany has not agreed to participate in this operation in this form," said Juergen Trittin of the Green Party.
Western-led forces continued airstrikes against troops loyal to Gaddafi for the seventh day on Friday.
Meanwhile, the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Canadian Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, took charge of NATO's operations in the country.