France formally recognises Libyan rebels’ authority

In a major diplomatic victory for the Libyan opposition, France has become the first country to formally recognise Libya’s rebel leadership, pledging to exchange ambassadors between Paris and the Libyan opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

France became the first country to formally recognize the Libyan opposition – the Interim Transitional National Council – as legitimate representatives of the Libyan people on Thursday, pledging to exchange ambassadors with the country’s newly created transitional council in a major diplomatic victory for the Libyan opposition.

The announcement followed a meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and two representatives of Libya’s Interim Transitional National Council in Paris Thursday

Speaking to reporters at the Elysée presidential palace in Paris, Ali al Issawi, a former Libyan ambassador to India who quit his post last month, announced that, “France recognises the National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

“There will be an exchange of ambassadors between Paris and Benghazi,” he added, referring to the eastern Libyan city that has emerged as a rebel stronghold over the past few weeks.

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