U.K. Recognises Libyan Rebels

Will unfreeze millions of dollars of the group's assets

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The British government has formally recognized the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council as the "sole governmental authority" of the country, the Guardian reports, and will kick out all diplomats loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Qaddafi's attacks on Libyans had "stripped him of all legitimacy."

Britain is taking several steps to offer "greater practical assistance" to the opposition, including handing over the Libyan embassy in London to them and unfreezing the assets of the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, which the council now controls. (Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the council, is pictured above.) That will free up $149 million in rebel assets, and Hague said his government would work with other countries over the coming weeks to unfreeze more, The Washington Post's Karla Adam reports. The announcement follows a meeting of a Libya "contract group" earlier this month, in which the U.S., Britain, and 30 other countries offered the rebels diplomatic recognition.
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