libya - Reuters - August 22 2011
Libyan rebels celebrate their advances, August 22, 2011. Photo by Reuters
Text size

More than 30 countries now recognize the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate representative of Libya now their forces are closing in on leader Muammar Gadhafi.

Six countries moved to recognize the NTC on Tuesday alone - Iraq, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Nigeria and Norway - joining the United States and the major European Union countries.

Libya's rebel NTC has declared itself the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people and formed an interim government as it conducted military operations against Gadhafi.

Of the other major powers, Russia has said it will not recognize the NTC as the sole legitimate representative of Libya, but it does recognize it as a party to the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Russia has said Gadhafi must go, but has accused NATO of over-stepping its United Nations mandate with its bombing campaign in Libya and urged talks between rebels and the government. Lavrov has suggested that recognizing the rebel council as Libya's sole legitimate government would not help.

The other permanent member of the UN Security Council, China, also did not use its veto in March to block a resolution authorizing the NATO campaign, but then condemned the air strikes and urged compromise between the government and rebels.

Since then, however, Beijing has courted Libyan rebels by hosting their leaders and sending envoys for talks.

On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing will respect the will of the Libyan people and hopes for a return to stability in Libya.

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that his government recognized the NTC, as did the Arab League which suspended Libya's membership soon after when Gadhafi's forces launched their crackdown on anti-government protests.

Growing regional power Turkey first recognized the National Council as a legitimate representative of the Libyan people in June, but officials said that did not mean it was the only representative of the Libyan people, though Ankara also cut diplomatic ties with Muammar Gadhafi's government.