Ethiopia Recognizes Libyan Rebels

Libya’s ambassadors defect en masse worldwide and change the new rebel TNC flag

AFP/NOW Lebanon,

Ethiopia on Wednesday recognized Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (TNC) as the legitimate authority of the strife-torn north African country and urged the African Union to do the same.

The recent unfolding events in Libya have amply demonstrated that the National Transition Council is in the control of the greater part of Libya,” government spokesperson Dina Mufti told reporters.

Dina made the comments at a joint press briefing by Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his Nigerian counterpart Olugbenga Ashiru, whose country recognized the rebels’ authority Tuesday.

(We) have decided to jointly recognize the NTC as the interim legitimate authority in Libya,” Dina said.

In a joint statement, the ministers also called on the African Union to recognize the NTC as the official Libyan leaders.

The pan-African bloc has still not recognized the NTC even after the 42-year-old regime of Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi has nearly been brought down by the rebels.

We ask the African Union and its members to be consistent by extending to the NTC the type of support and recognition that was extended to Tunisia and Egypt,” the statement said.

However, Ashiru said the fate of Qaddafi rests with Libyan people and not the international community.

This should be a matter for the people of Libya to decide, I don’t think its proper for anybody to tell them how they want to proceed but all we will ask for is that … justice must be done,” Ashiru said.

An AU ad-hoc committee on Libya will meet on Thursday at the bloc’s Addis Ababa headquarters to discuss the North African country’s crisis ahead of talks by heads of state of AU’s Peace and Security Council.