The foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party has suggested bombing Libyan rebels in order to remain neutral in NATO’s campaign against embattled dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Soren Espersen’s remarks, which were made in parliament last week, were met by a chorus of head-shaking and tutting from both sides of the political spectrum, including his traditional allies, The Copenhagen Post reports.
Espersen suggested that the international coalition should blow up the rebels’ weapons to prevent the continuation of civil war. “We can’t have that. Then it’s a new situation. Then we might also have to destroy their combat vehicles,” he said.
“The situation is very complex. What do we do if rebels, with heavy artillery, make headway? We cannot accept that the one side is picked off as they drive around in their combat vehicles, while the other side gets a free pass to continue. I don’t think that the rebels are any gentler than the other side,” he added.
According to Politiken, even the party’s usual political allies, the Liberals and Conservatives, were shocked by Espersen’s suggestion.
“We are totally against that. We don’t accept that Gaddafi has a legitimate right to rule the country. We therefore have to try to build a good relationship with the rebels and open an active dialogue with them,” said Michael Aastrup Jensen, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the prime minister’s Liberal Party. “We’re not going to get off on the right foot by bombing them,” he added.
The Conservative Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Naser Khader, commented: “It shocks me. I don’t understand what Soren Espersen is thinking. He needs to stop.”