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      AU 'Encouraged' by Libyan Rebels

      The African Union says it is encouraged by promises made by Libya’s NTC, will discuss the possibility of recognizing it.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 9/2/2011, 5:07 AM

      The African Union said Thursday it is encouraged by promises made by Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) at a conference in Paris and will now discuss with its member states the possibility of recognizing the interim leadership, Reuters reported.

      French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted the conference, during which NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil told delegations from about 60 countries and international bodies that Libya would not let them down and called on the Libyan people to remain peaceful and respect the state of law.

      “We were reassured today by the commitments made by Mr. Jalil on the protection of African workers, reconciliation and creation of a national unity government,” African Union spokesman Noureddine Mezni told Reuters.

      He added, “There were concerns among member states for the African workers in Libya and the creation of a unity government ... We will now take what was said today to our members.”

      The announcement came after last week the AU declined to recognize the Libyan rebels’ authority, calling instead for the formation of an all-inclusive transitional government.

      South African President Jacob Zuma said at the end of an AU Peace and Security Council meeting last Friday that the rebels were not yet legitimate rulers of the country.

      Reuters noted that Zuma’s South Africa chose to boycott Thursday’s conference in Paris.

      Many countries, including Russia, have already formally recognized the NTC as the legitimate power in Libya.