UK recognises Libyan rebels
Expels Qaddafi envoys
London, July 27: Britain has officially recognized Libya’s main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government, and on Wednesday expelled all diplomats from Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain is unfreezing 91 million pounds ($150 million) of Libyan oil assets to help the National Transitional Council, which the UK now recognizes as “the sole governmental authority in Libya.”
“This decision reflects the National Transitional Council’s increasing legitimacy, competence and success in reaching out to Libyans across the country,” Hague said.
He said the council had been invited to send an ambassador to London, adding that “we will deal with the National Transitional Council on the same basis as other governments around the world.”
The Libyan charge d’affaires was summoned Wednesday morning and informed that all eight remaining staff and their dependents must leave the country within three days, the Foreign Office said.
Qaddafi's ambassador, Omar Jelban, was sent home in May after an attack on the British ambassador's residence in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
A handful of demonstrators gathered outside the embassy in London, with a rebel banner, heckling the diplomats outside and threatening to climb onto the balcony and tear down Qaddafi’s green flag. They were shooed away by police, who stood guard outside the four-story stone and brick building across from the city’s Hyde Park.
Abdelatif Kleisa, a Libyan emigre now living in Sheffield, was among the demonstrators. He said any defections would be welcome but the defectors themselves wouldn’t be treated as heroes.
“It’s too late for them to defect,” said the 48-year-old businessman, who wore a rebel flag pin over his heart. Asked if any of the diplomats could win a place in the rebel movement, he let out an expletive.
“No way,” he said. “They have to get normal jobs like anyone else. We struggled for 42 years. Now it’s their turn to struggle.”
Britain’s diplomatic moves implement a decision made at a July 15 meeting in Istanbul during which the United States, Britain and 30 other nations recognized Libya’s main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government.
A popular uprising seeking to oust Qaddafi broke out in February, but the front lines in the civil war have remained largely stagnant since then. Rebels, backed by NATO air bombings, control much of the country’s east and pockets in the west. But Qaddafi controls the rest from his stronghold in Tripoli, the capital.
Hague said London would invite the council to replace Libya’s diplomats in Britain and free up some funds currently blocked due to an asset freeze on Libyan funds.
“At the request of the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, a Libyan oil company, the United Kingdom is ready to make available 91 million pounds of the company’s assets in the United Kingdom.” Reuters
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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Expels Qaddafi envoys
London, July 27: Britain has officially recognized Libya’s main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government, and on Wednesday expelled all diplomats from Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.Foreign Secretary More