Netherlands denies recognising Libyan rebels
The Netherlands on Thursday denied it had recognised Libya's rebel National Transitional Council, as announced earlier by the NTC.
"We haven't formally recognised the council," Dutch foreign ministry spokesman Ward Bezemer told AFP.
Libyan rebels earlier said in Benghazi that Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands had become the latest states to recognise the council, set up to rival the regime of Moamer Kadhafi.
The rebels later added that Canada had also recognised the NTC.
But speaking from Rome, where Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal joined talks at the International Contact Group on Libya, Bezemer said the NTC announcement had taken the Netherlands by surprise.
"It was a big surprise for me and it is not true," Bezemer told AFP adding that the Dutch position on Libya remained unchanged.
"We have always said the Netherlands recognises states, not governments, that's what we have been saying for the last few weeks."
Apart from the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain also denied recognising the NTC, but there has been no immediate reaction from Ottowa.
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.
© 2011 AFP