Britain expels diplomats, recognizes Libyan opposition
Britain is to formally recognize Libya's National Transitional Council and expel the remaining diplomats in the country representing Moamer Gaddafi, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced in London on Wednesday, dpa reported.
Britain regarded the opposition NTC as the "sole governmental authority" in Libya, Hague said, adding that Libya's London embassy was to be handed over to the council.
The move would facilitate giving "greater practical assistance" to the NTC, which insists that Gaddafi must leave power after 42 years, he said.
In particular, it will allow Libyan assets to be unfrozen to help the NTC finance its operations in the parts of Libya it controls.
Reports said some eight Gaddafi diplomats were involved in the expulsion order, after several others had been forced out over recent months.
The move comes despite a recent shift in British policy in which Hague signalled that the Libyan leader might be allowed to stay in Libya following a power transition. Previous British policy had been that Gaddafi should leave.
Hague said on Monday the matter was something for the Libyans themselves to decide.
Britain closed its Tripoli embassy in February and subsequently set up a mission in Benghazi where the NTC holds sway