Spanish foreign minister to meet Libyan rebels

7th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez will meet with Libyan rebel leaders in their eastern stronghold of Benghazi this week, the foreign ministry said Monday.

She will meet with officials of the National Transitional Council, including the head of the rebels' leadership body, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, on Wednesday, a statement said.

Spain's top diplomat will head Thursday to the United Arab Emirates, where she is to attend a meeting of the Libya Contact Group of the countries backing military action in the north African country.

The group held its first meeting in Qatar.

France, Italy, Britain, Qatar, Gambia, Jordan and Malta are the states that have so far recognised the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

The NTC refuses any negotiation with Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, having demanded his departure since the start of the uprising in mid-February.

Spain denied in early May having recognised the NTC as the rebels asserted.

In April Madrid announced it was sending a diplomat to Benghazi to "reinforce dialogue" with the rebels.

"We consider the NTC as a valid interlocutor," a foreign ministry spokeswoman said then "Sending an emissary of the government to Benghazi ... does not imply recognition of the NTC."

© 2011 AFP

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