U.S. recognizes rebels in Libya

The New York Times reports:

The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country’s legitimate government on Friday. The move, made at an international gathering here to discuss the five-month-old conflict in Libya, ratcheted up the diplomatic pressure on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi amid a continuing NATO-led bombing campaign to push him from power.

At the meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Colonel Qaddafi’s government no longer had any legitimacy, and that the United States would join more than 30 countries in extending diplomatic recognition to the main opposition group, known as the Transitional National Council.

“We will help the T.N.C. sustain its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya, and we will look to it to remain steadfast in its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Mrs. Clinton said.

In an audio speech carried on Libyan television, Colonel Qaddafi appeared as determined as ever to fight on, and dismissed the recognition of the rebel government by the leading powers.

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