Qatar becomes first Arab country to recognize Libyan National Council

Qatar has officially recognized the Libyan National Council as the only legitimate governing body in the North African country, becoming the first Arab country to do so, the Qatar News Agency said on Monday.

“The council, which includes representatives of various Libyan regions, has already begun representing the whole of Libya and has been recognized by the Libyan people,” the news agency quoted a source in the Qatari Foreign Ministry as saying.

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are the only Arab countries officially involved in the international military operation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that has been under way since March 19.

The Libyan National Council, based in the main opposition stronghold of Benghazi, consists of 31 representatives of Libya’s largest cities. The council controls the eastern part of the country, while the west remains under control of the embattled Libyan leader.

France was the first country to recognize the Libyan National Council as the country’s only legitimate government. International organizations, such as the European Union, the Arab League, and the Gulf Cooperation Council have expressed their readiness to cooperate with the council.

The military operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya is being conducted jointly by 13 states, including the United States, Britain and France, under a UN mandate. The Libyan state-run television has accused the allied forces of killing dozens of civilians while attacking civilian facilities in Libya along with military objects.

On Sunday, NATO began taking command of all aerial operations in Libya from the US-led force. The transfer of authority will take up to three days.

CAIRO, March 28 (RIA Novosti)

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