SEARCH

News » International

Updated: March 11, 2011 18:40 IST

France faces EU pressure over Libyan opposition recognition

AP
print   ·   T  T  
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, speaks with British Prime Minister David Cameron during an EU Summit in Brussels on Friday. Photo: AP.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, speaks with British Prime Minister David Cameron during an EU Summit in Brussels on Friday. Photo: AP.

Mr. Sarkozy’s decision the day before Friday’s European Union summit caught other leaders off guard, and overshadowed attempts to show unity in declaring Moammar Qadhafi’s reign effectively over and slapping further sanctions on the strongman’s regime.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy faced increasing pressure from fellow leaders on Friday who complained he was out of line to suddenly give a Libyan opposition group diplomatic recognition.

Mr. Sarkozy’s decision the day before Friday’s European Union summit caught other leaders off guard, and overshadowed attempts to show unity in declaring Moammar Qadhafi’s reign effectively over and slapping further sanctions on the strongman’s regime.

Other EU member states insist that only nations should get diplomatic recognition and urged caution during the volatile days of continued fighting and conflicting information. France recognized Libya’s Interim Governing Council, an umbrella group of rebels based in the eastern city of Benghazi, which was taken over in a deadly uprising that has spread throughout much of the oil—rich North African country.

“I find it a crazy move by France,” Dutch Premier Mark Rutte said as he arrived for the meeting in Brussels. “To jump ahead and say ‘I will recognize a transitional government,’ in the face of any diplomatic practice, is not the solution for Libya,” he said.

EU leaders say their primary goals for the meeting are to put pressure on the Qadhafi regime and help with assistance to those in need, though for the moment the humanitarian crisis has eased. All options, including a no fly zone - something the U.S. has said it will not participate in - are on the table.

“It’s important that the countries of Europe show political will, show ambition and show unity in being clear that Col. Gadhafi must go. His regime is illegitimate,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

“We are going to step up today, in the European council, measures to isolate that regime,” Mr. Cameron added.

Even so, the prospect of the quick imposition of a no—fly zone over Libya to protect the civilian population from Col. Qadhafi regime’s fighter jets appeared to be fading, with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere insisting that the Arab League must first make clear what it wants. The Arab League meets on Libya in Cairo on Saturday, and is not expected to support a no fly zone, which would render the point moot.

“The situation right now in Libya does not justify a military intervention by NATO,” Mr. de Maiziere said at a meeting of the bloc’s defence ministers being held across town.

In Athens, meanwhile, three Dutch marines who were captured after a botched evacuation mission in Libya last month arrived on board a Greek military transport plane after their release.

The Dutch troops and their helicopter were seized on February 27 by armed forces loyal to Col. Gadhafi after landing near Sirte, Libya, to help evacuate people from the country as the rebellion gained steam.

More In: International | News

National

Business

Cricket

Sport


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in International

In this file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the doorstep of the White House. Photo: Special Arrangement

Obama to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations

He will be the first US President to participate in the Indian Republic Day celebration in New Delhi as the Chief Guest. »