Germany Gives Diplomatic Recognition to Libyan Rebels

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Germany on Monday officially recognized Libya's rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people as battles continued in several places between rebels and government loyalists.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle offered the recognition during a visit to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Germany does not participate in NATO airstrikes aiding the rebel cause to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Germany joins several other nations in recognizing the rebel Transitional National Council including France, Italy, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The Obama administration is supporting the rebel cause but has stopped short of recognition.

U.S. officials traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Africa say the situation in Libya will feature prominently in her remarks Tuesday at an African Union meeting in Ethiopia.

The diplomatic moves come as Libyan rebel forces attempt to take advantage of increased coordination with NATO to mount a series of attacks.

In Zawiyah, a strategic city 50 kilometers west of the capital, Libyan rebels regrouped and clashed with pro-Gadhafi forces over the weekend. weeks after troops had forced the rebels' retreat.

A London-based opposition spokesman said Sunday that several hundred rebel fighters controlled large areas of western Zawiyah as well as a section of the coastal highway. But a government official denied the report.

Government forces killed at least five people over the weekend when mortar shells and Grad rockets hit Zintan, part of the rebel-held Western Mountains region. Elsewhere, opposition forces say fighting killed at least six at Dafniya, just west of rebel-held Misrata.