Rebel Libyan flag flies over Moscow embassy

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Libya's embassy in Moscow on Monday finally hoisted the rebel flag after lowering the green banner of Moamer Kadhafi's regime last week in the wake of his regime's fall in Tripoli.

A spokesman for the embassy said the red, black and green banner that itself evolved from the deposed monarchy was raised on instruction of the ambassador and following orders from the foreign ministry.

The embassy lowered the green flag of Kadhafi's government on Wednesday after Tripoli's fall to the NATO-backed rebel force.

It was not clear if the staff at the Libyan embassy had been replaced and the Russian foreign ministry refused to comment on the change when contacted by AFP.

Moscow's Soviet-era ties to Kadhafi resulted in lucrative arms sales and other contracts that Russia now stands to lose with the rise of the rebel resistance.

President Dmitry Medvedev has set himself apart from other major world leaders by saying he would only recognise the Libyan rebels if they "unite the country" and pointing to Kadhafi's continued influence.

Moscow still has an embassy open in Tripoli and only recognises the rebels' National Transitional Council as a negotiating partner.

© 2011 AFP

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