By Nasser ElGhanem
Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) on Wednesday (April 13th) gained official recognition from the international contact group in Doha.
NTC representative Mahmoud Jibril said the move by foreign ministers and diplomats was “the “correct beginning for dealing with the Libyan crisis on the part of the international community”.
Participants agreed “to set up a temporary financial mechanism that would help the National Transitional Council and the international community manage aid to meet short-term financial needs as well as essential needs in Libya”, a forum communiqué said.
The group also stressed the need for Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi to leave to avoid further bloodshed.
“The Transitional Council presented its vision for a solution in Libya and provided all the guarantees to the international community that Libya will stay within the international community and will be bound by its laws,” Jibril told Al-Shorfa.
Jibril said that the National Transitional Council requested arms and equipment to help the rebels overthrow Kadhafi’s regime. “Otherwise, I think that the problem will last longer, and neither air strikes nor the imposition of a no-fly zone on the Libyan regime will be sufficient,” he said.
He criticised the Turkish initiative that was introduced because it did not contain any reference to Kadhafi’s departure. Jibril said he would oppose any initiative that did not include such a stipulation.
The Turkish initiative called for a cease-fire in cities surrounded by pro-regime forces, a corridor to be opened to allow the distribution of aid, and negotiations leading to free elections. It did not call for the removal of Kadhafi and his family.
Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani said during a press conference after the meeting that the final communiqué opens the door to provide the Libyan opposition with means for “self-defence”.
“The Libyan people need to defend themselves to resist persistent attacks by Kadhafi’s forces,” he said.
[Nasser ElGhanem / Al-Shorfa] NTC spokesman Mahmoud Shamam called on Arab states to recognise the body as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
National Transitional Council spokesman Mahmoud Shamam said the crisis could be resolved by “a response to the demands of the Libyan people, which is the removal of Kadhafi and his family from power and from the country”.
Shamam said Arab states should recognise the National Transitional Council as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
“There are countries that have voiced their intention to recognise the Transitional Council and others showed a clear understanding of what the Libyan people are going through, and we are waiting for an Arab consensus to recognize the Transitional Council,” he said.
Ambassador Hesham Youssef, spokesman for Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary-general, said the League’s position on Libya is determined by Arab foreign ministers.
“We agree with the [United Nations] Security Council’s decision to impose a no-fly zone on Libya and to protect civilians and establish safe areas,” Youssef told Al-Shorfa. “We support the protection of civilians and support taking any steps that achieve this goal and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya because their situation is very difficult.”
The contact group agreed to hold their next conference on Libya in Italy, but a specific date was not announced.