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      AU Won't Recognize Libyan Rebels

      African Union declines to recognize Libyan rebels, calls for formation of an all-inclusive transitional government.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 8/27/2011, 1:29 AM

      The African Union declined on Friday to recognize the Libyan rebels’ authority and instead called for the formation of an all-inclusive transitional government, AFP reported.

      South African President Jacob Zuma said at the end of an AU Peace and Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa that the rebels were not yet legitimate rulers of the country which has been hit by a civil war in the past several months.

      “There is a process in Libya wherein the NTC (National Transitional Council) forces are in the process of taking over Tripoli ... but there is still that fighting going on,” AFP quoted Zuma as having said. “So we can’t therefore stand and say this is the legitimate (government) now.”

      The union instead called on Libyan parties to set up a transitional government ahead of elections.

      The AU’s Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, told reporters the body “encourages the Libyan stakeholders to accelerate the process leading to the formation of an all-inclusive transitional government that would be welcome to occupy a seat in the African Union.”

      Officials who had been present at the talks told Al-Jazeera on Friday the 15-member emergency council was split almost in half between countries that have recognized the NTC and countries that have not.

      The past week has been an important one in Libyan history, with the capital Tripoli having fallen into rebels’ hands and former strongman Muammar Qaddafi escaping the capital, yet promising to crush the uprising.

      The rebels, meanwhile, have promised to hold elections within eight months and have said they would try Qaddafi in the country before handing him over to the International Criminal Court. Earlier this week, a $1.67 million bounty was offered for Qaddafi.

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)