Canada denies recognising rebels as Libya government

Canada said rebels trying to overthrow Gaddafi are a valid interlocutor.

Ottawa: Canada on Thursday said rebels trying to overthrow Libyan President Muamar Gaddafi are a "valid interlocutor," but denied the fighters` claims that Ottawa has formally recognised them as the new government.

"There has been no change in Canada`s position on recognition. Canada recognises states, not governments. Libya, as a state, continues to exist," foreign affairs spokeswoman Lisa Monette told a news agency.

The rebels said Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain had become the latest states to recognise their new national council, but the states quickly denied the claim.

"We continue to consider the Transitional National Council (TNC) as a valid interlocutor," said Monette.

She said Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon had met with a senior representative of the group in Paris.

Canadian officials are also in regular contact with TNC representatives and the TNC has recently appointed a representative to Canada.

International powers meanwhile were meeting in Rome on Thursday to try to set up a new fund to aid Libya`s rebels, but said plans to finance it by unfreezing billions in foreign assets from Gaddafi’s regime were being held up.

A popular uprising against Gaddafi that began in mid-February has left the oil-rich north African state split between the largely Gaddafi-controlled west and the rebel east.

Bureau Report

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