PARIS, Sept. 1 (UPI) — Russia recognized the Libyan rebels’ transitional government as world leaders met in Paris Thursday to discuss support and aid to Libya, officials said.
Two Transitional National Council leaders are attending the conference, ironically scheduled on the 42nd anniversary of the coup that swept Moammar Gadhafi to power, along with 60 diplomatic delegations from other countries, The New York Times reported.
Also expected to attend are representatives of Russia, China and Germany, which did not support the NATO airstrike operation that was part of a U.N. resolution calling for protection of Libya’s citizens from Gadhafi.
“Our country established and has maintained diplomatic relations with Libya since Sept. 4, 1955, and has never broken them regardless of what kind of government was in power in Tripoli,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had said Moscow wouldn’t recognize the TNC until it appeared the rebels could unite Libya.
Russia and China refused to support sanctions against the Gadhafi regime. Russia also said the NATO campaign was beyond the scope of the U.N. resolution.
Before the conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised the NATO alliance for its support of the rebels, calling it “an indispensable tool.”