Libyan opposition 'valid interlocutors': Britain

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain described the Libyan opposition as "valid interlocutors" on Thursday after France moved to recognise the rebels as the country's rightful representatives.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy seized the initiative as the EU leadership hesitated to recognise the rebels, ahead of a summit to discuss the conflict between loyalists of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and rebel forces.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The UK recognises states, not governments. The Interim National Council are valid interlocutors with whom we wish to work closely."

Britain has made it clear that Kadhafi "must go and now", the spokeswoman reiterated.

"We are working closely with international partners to achieve this. We are considering a range of options and look forward to discussing these with President Sarkozy and other partners at tomorrow's European Council."

France's move prompted the rebels to call on other European Union states to follow suit.

But Germany expressed caution Thursday on the issue, with a high-ranking government source saying the question of recognising the rebels "has not arisen".

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said his country would seek the opinion of other European nations before deciding whether to recognise the rebels.

© 2011 AFP

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