Riyadh: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising six countries, has termed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime illegitimate and called for establishing contacts with the rebels.
"The Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf considers the current Libyan regime illegal and urges to set up relations with the (opposition) National Council," GCC's ministers said in a statement issued after their meeting in Riyadh Thursday.
The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The Libyan National Council was created by insurgents amid the unrest to govern the country's eastern territories, where many major cities and towns have been turned into opposition strongholds.
Libya has been witnessing massive anti-government protests since February 14. The protesters are demanding the ouster of Gaddafi who has ruled the North African country for almost 42 years.
Earlier on Thursday, France formally recognised the rebel Libyan National Council as the only legitimate governing body in the country. The country was planning to send an ambassador to the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi.
On Wednesday, the National Council called on the European Union to recognise it as the country's legitimate ruling body.
Several international organisations, including the UN and EU have imposed strict sanctions on Gaddafi's aides and close relatives. The measures include a total arms embargo on Libya, a freeze on Gaddafi's and his family members' assets and an entry ban for them to the EU.
First Published: Friday, March 11, 2011, 13:38