Niger, Benin recognise Libyan rebels

NIAMEY - Benin and Niger have formally recognised Libya’s rebels, breaking ranks with the African Union which said on Friday it could not recognise the rebel National Transitional Council until fighting had ended.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sat 27 Aug 2011, 10:02 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:40 PM

The government of Niger, a southern neighbour of Libya which has long had ties with Tripoli, issued a statement on Saturday formally recognising the rebels, days after pro-rebel officials took control of the embassy in its capital, Niamey.

Niger, one of Africa’s poorest nations, is having to cope with the return of more than 210,000 Nigerien migrant workers who had been in Libya before the conflict started. The flow of weapons and fighters from Libya is also a major concern.

Benin also announced, late on Friday, that it had recognised the rebels.

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the 54-member African Union, and South African leader Jacob Zuma, who has been a vocal supporter of Gaddafi, said on Friday the bloc would not recognise the rebels while fighting was still going on.

The NTC has won recognition from more than 40 countries, and AU officials told Reuters on Friday that 20 of them were African.

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