Gaddafi, rebels intensify diplomatic efforts
The Libyan opposition on Thursday hailed a declaration by Paris to recognize them as the country's rightful representatives and urged other European states to follow suit. "France is playing the role of breaking the ice for the European Union. This is the first nail in the coffin of Gaddafi. We expect all Europe to follow," Mustafa Gheriani, a media official at the rebels' headquarters, was quoted as saying by AFP.
Meanwhile, Libya has asked Algeria to mediate with the UN Security Council to obtain a lifting of sanctions, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said Thursday in an newspaper interview. "My Libyan counterpart (Moussa Koussa) sent me a letter 36 hours ago in which he asked for Algerian mediation with the Security Council to have it renounce certain sanctions imposed on Libya," Medelci told the Arab-language daily El-Khabar.
In a related development, an envoy of embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi met with Greek officials on Thursday ahead of an emergency European Union summit in Brussels. Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Taher Siyala arrived at the Greek foreign ministry for talks with his counterpart Dimitris Dollis.
Both Gaddafi and the rebels have stepped up diplomatic efforts ahead of a series of EU meetings on Libya in Brussels.
Another aide of Gadhafi was also en route for Portugal, where he was to meet Foreign Minister Luis Amado, an EU source said. Another member of Gadhafi's inner elite, Major General Abdelrahman al-Zawi, landed in Cairo on Wednesday aboard a private Libyan plane.