Russia recognises Libya's rebel government
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Russia on Thursday formally recognised the rebels who ousted Kadhafi as the legitimate rulers of Libya, on the opening day of a major conference on Libya, hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
Moscow's recognition of the interim National Transitional Council comes three months after France and Britain gave the rebels formal recognition.
Last week, as Libya's rebels gained control of Tripoli, Russian president Dimitry Medvedev said Moscow would recognised their authority "if they unite the country", adding that the regime of Moamer Kadhafi still had influence.
Moscow had abstained from the United Nations resolution on a no-fly zone in Libya at the outset of the conflict, thereby not obstructing Western military action to protect civilians threatened by Kadhafi.
But as the military action progressed, Russia, a longtime ally of Moamer Kadhafi, repeatedly voiced concerns that the West was siding with the rebels in a civil war.
Analysts now warn that Russian companies could lose billions of dollars in arms and energy contracts in the new Libya because the rebels now in control will favour those states, such as France and Britain, who offered full support during the conflict.
Medvedev's envoy for Africa is representing Russia at today's conference, though last week Moscow denied that it had received any invitation to participate.
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