BENGHAZI, Libya, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Germany has joined an expanding list to recognize the Libyan opposition National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made the remarks Monday during his visit to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi. He also pledged to provide non-military assistance to the NTC and help rebuild the war-torn country after Muammar Gaddafi steps down.
Germany has been criticized by its allies for not contributing enough in the air war over Libya, but Westerwelle said Germany has its own reasons not to send troops for the military intervention.
"The German government is one of the first governments in the international community and the European Union who made it absolutely clear that Colonel Gaddafi has to step down," Westerwelle to a press conference. "The fact we do not participate the military intervention does not mean we are neutral."
"Our instruments are the political process, economic isolation and of course after the time of Gaddafi the rebuilding of the country," he said.
Besides promising economic and humanitarian assistance, Germany is also working on freezing the frozen assets of the Gaddafi regime overseas to help the Libyan opposition.
Berlin has opened an office in Benghazi for diplomatic issues to broaden its ties with NTC members who are fighting to end Gaddafi's 42-year rule.
Nearly four months after its establishment, the NTC has been lobbying world powers for supports and has been boosted by recognition from major countries including France, Italy, Britain, Spain, Qatar and the UAE.