Spain denies recognising Libyan rebel council

5th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain on Thursday denied claims by Libyan rebels that it had recognised their National Transitional Council (NTC).

"There has been no change in (our) position," a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

"The NTC is considered a valid interlocutor. Sending a special ambassador from the (Spanish) government to Benghazi was done to maintain and strengthen the dialogue with the NTC but does not imply endorsement of the NTC.

"We continue to keep an ambassador in Tripoli," she said.

Libyan rebels earlier said in Benghazi that Canada, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands had become the latest states to recognise the council, set up to rival the regime of Moamer Kadhafi.

The Netherlands and Denmark also denied they had recognised the council, but there has been no immediate reaction from Ottawa.

France, Italy, Qatar and Gambia have already recognised the NTC, based in the eastern rebel bastion of Benghazi, as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

A popular uprising in Libya began in mid-February and has left the country split between the largely Kadhafi-controlled west and the rebel east.

An international meeting on Libya agreed Thursday to set up a new fund to aid Libyan rebels, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promising Washington would tap frozen assets of Kadhafi's regime.

Spain decided last month to send a representative to Benghazi to "reinforce dialogue" with the NTC.

Jose Riera, the Spanish ambassador for the special mission for Mediterranean affairs, arrived in the rebel stronghold on Wednesday.

Spain has committed four F-18 fighter jets and a refueling aircraft to help enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya.

It has also deployed an F-100 frigate, an S-74 submarine and a CN-235 maritime surveillance plane to help enforce an arms embargo against the country.

© 2011 AFP

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