European leaders move on to avoid post-Gaddafi chaos | world | Hindustan Times
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European leaders move on to avoid post-Gaddafi chaos

world Updated: Aug 22, 2011 23:58 IST

AFP
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Without waiting for the fall of Tripoli, the West is already preparing for life after Muammar Gaddafi with two main concerns: avoiding Libya's partition after four decades of authoritarian rule and ensuring a genuine transition to democracy.

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on Monday, urged the rebel political leadership, Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC), to "make sure that the transition is smooth and inclusive, that the country stays united, and that the future is founded on reconciliation and respect for human rights".

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed similar concerns, calling on the TNC to "demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya".

And EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton again urged the rebel forces to "fully respect humanitarian and human rights law and protect citizens".

With the rebels seemingly set to take Tripoli, the West worries that Gaddafi's fall after four decades of strongman rule to keep tribal factions in their place could give rise to new vendettas between victor and vanquished, leaving little chance for national reconciliation.

"Many Libyans tell us there will be scores to be settled because we are in a situation of civil war and the conflict has only exacerbated tensions that were bubbling away under the surface for so long," an EU diplomat who works on the ground said.

"History shows us that when power is obtained through arms rather than peaceful means, military legitimacy enters into conflict with democratic legitimacy," said Alavaro de Vasconcelos, head of the EU Institute for Security.

To avoid that, a real integration is required also including "very conservative Islamist forces, close to the Muslim Brotherhood, but non-violent," he adds. "Each has their place."

Europe could contribute military training missions for the post-Gaddafi security apparatus, similar to those set up in Iraq or Afghanistan.