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Botswana recognises Libya's rebel govt

Staff Writer
As efforts to oust Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi enter their sixth month, Botswana this week recognised the National Transitional Council (NTC) as a legitimate opposition force in Libya.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani, confirmed this to Mmegi yesterday, countries around the world were expelling Libyan diplomats linked to the embattled regime.

Mmegi has established that the Libyan Embassy in Gaborone has been closed since the departure of Ambassador Assed Mohamad Almutaa and his staff three months ago.

Skelemani said Botswana's recognition of NTC would remain until there were elections and the rebels were (hopefully) officially installed in office.

However, if the rebel council and Gaddafi's

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regime agreed to form a government of national unity, Botswana would recognise them, the minister said.

Libya was plunged into turmoil when pro-democracy activists mounted street protests to demand an end to Gaddafi's 42-year rule that resulted from a military coup. Gaddafi vowed to use his military to crush the demonstrators, prompting the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone to be enforce by (NATO).

Botswana was the first country to end diplomatic relations with Libya when the bombing started.



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