- By Robert ZeligerRobert Zeliger is News Editor of Foreign Policy.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced today during a visit to Benghazi that his government would now recognize the Transitional National Council (TNC) as the official representatives of the Libyan people. Here’s a breakdown of which major countries have officially recognized the Benghazi-based leadership and which countries haven’t.
France was one of the first countries to recognize the rebels on March 10, some nine days before the NATO intervention began. Qaddafi broke off diplomatic relations with Paris the next day.
Qatar was the first Arab country to back the rebels, establishing diplomatic ties on March 28. Kuwait followed in April, Jordan in May, and the United Arab Emirates last week.
Despite a long-standing friendship between Qaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy backed the rebels as the "only legitimate interlocutor" in April.
In mid-May, Britain‘s Foreign Secretary William Hague recognized the TNC and invited them to open a mission in London. Spain and Australia soon followed.
NOT RECOGNIZED BY:
The United States. Despite playing a leading role in the airstrikes against Qaddafi and his loyalist forces, Washington hasn’t officially recognized the Transitional Council. White House spokesman Jay Carney said last month the U.S. is "continuing to assess the capabilities of the TNC," but it was up to the Libyan people to decide their government, not foreign states.
Regional power house Turkey has not completely renounced Qaddafi, despite lobbying efforts by Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who visited Ankara late last month.
Russia and China. Both countries abstained in the Security Council vote authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya and have yet to cut off ties with Qaddafi. A Russian envoy might meet with him again this week in Tripoli.
Neighbor Egypt is allowing aid and medical material to cross its western border to resupply and aid the Libyan rebels, but it hasn’t yet renounced Qaddafi’s government. In fact, Jalil has alleged that Qaddafi’s associates are in Egypt, selling Libyan assets to get around international sanctions and recruiting mercenaries, charges that Cairo denies.