Johannesburg: The African Union has
officially recognised Libya`s National Transitional Council as
the country`s legitimate leadership, the group`s chairman said
in a statement on Tuesday.
The announcement was transmitted by the office of South
African President Jacob Zuma, six days after he hosted a
meeting of the AU`s special panel on Libya in Pretoria.
The president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang
Nguema, who holds the bloc`s rotating chair, made the
announcement after consulting with the panel in New York,
ahead of the UN General Assembly, the statement said.
Obiang Nguema "hereby announces that the African Union
recognises the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the
representative of the Libyan people as they form an
all-inclusive transitional government that will occupy the
Libyan seat at the African Union."
"The African Union stands ready to support the Libyan
people... as they rebuild their country towards a united,
democratic, peaceful and prosperous Libya," it said.
The AU`s reluctance to formally recognise Libya`s new
leadership had created a split on the continent, as about 20
nations had already established ties.
At the AU panel`s meeting last week in Pretoria, the
group had "committed itself to working with the NTC" but
stopped short of formally recognising it.
The AU has doggedly stuck to its own "roadmap" to the
Libyan conflict and criticised the NATO bombing campaign.
The rebellion had rejected the AU proposal, insisting on
the removal of Muammar Gaddafi from power.
But earlier this month, the NTC gave assurances that it
would work to meet key concerns of the African Union,
promising that they remained committed to the African
continent and to building national unity after Gaddafi`s
ouster, the statement said.
The NTC also promised to protect foreign workers,
including black Africans, following allegations that many had
been detained on suspicions they had worked as mercenaries for