Gaddafi’s envoy given 72 hours to leave
Dubai - The United Arab Emirates has given Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s ambassador 72 hours to leave, a day after it recognised the rebels' National Transitional Council, a diplomat told AFP on Monday.
"The UAE foreign ministry has informed the ambassador of Gaddafi’s regime in Abu Dhabi that it now recognises the NTC as a legitimate Libyan government. Therefore, his diplomatic mission in the country ends within 72 hours and he must leave," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
The Libyan envoy was told that "the embassy will be handed over to the NTC which the UAE deals with as a government".
A foreign ministry official told AFP that the oil-rich Gulf state "is taking all measures needed to implement its recognition of the NTC".
The decision to recognise the NTC as the "sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people" was announced Sunday by Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who said the UAE would soon open a provisional office in Benghazi, the Libyan rebels' stronghold.
"The NTC has, in practice, become the representative of Libya and the Libyan people. Therefore, the United Arab Emirates will create relations with it at government level in all questions concerning Libya," the minister said.
The UAE move comes after a meeting on Thursday in Abu Dhabi of the contact group on Libya.
The federation becomes the 12th nation to recognise the NTC as "sole legitimate representative", after Australia, Britain, France, Gambia, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Qatar, Senegal, Spain and the United States.