Turkey recognises Libya's rebel council
Turkey has become the latest in a string of countries to recognise Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, visited the opposition stronghold of Benghazi on Monday with an offer of 138 million euros of aid.
He also indicated that Ankara could play a major role in solving the Libyan crisis. He pointed to a Turkey-backed roadmap that would see an immediate ceasefire, humanitarian access to all cities, the withdrawal of forces and the removal of Kadhafi from power.
Turkey, the only mainly Muslim member of Nato has gradually hardened its stance against Libya after first criticing Western air strikes against Kadhafi’s forces. It has refused to take part in the air action, but has provided six warships to help police a Nato-imposed arms embargo in Libyan waters.
On Monday, Turkey’s banking authorities seized control of Libyan-Turkish bank A&T in line with UN sanctions against Kadhafi’s regime. The bank’s director-general and five executive board emembers who represented the Libyan Foreign Bank were removed from office and replaced by officials appointed by the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund.
The de facto recognition by Turkey comes as the rebel army said it was poised for an offensive that could put it within striking distance of Tripoli.
Meanwhile, Russia is hosting talks on Libya with Nato states and lead mediator South Africa as the Transitional National Council rejected an African peace plan.
Nato member states are gathered for a regular meeting with Russian leaders in the Black Sea resort of Sochi overshadowed by a conflict that has now dragged on for four and a half months despite an air campaign by alliance members lasting more than 100 days.
South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev are to hold talks in a luxury sanatorium in the town on the sidelines of the Nato meeting as both governments seek to press the alliance to pave the way for a negotiated settlement.
The foreign ministry in Pretoria said Zuma's talks in Sochi would include all members of the International Contact Group on Libya but could provide no further details.
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