Libya's ruling National Transitional Council said on Monday that it recognises the Syrian National Council grouping of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad as the country's government.
"The National Transitional Council has decided after a meeting today to recognise the Syrian National Council as the sole legitimate government in Syria," NTC member Mussa al-Koni told a news conference in Tripoli.
|Dozens of Libyans whose houses were damaged during recent fighting protest to demand the reconstruction of their homes in Tripoli on October 10, 2011|
Koni, who represents Libya's Tuareg minority in the NTC, said the council has "also decided to close the Syrian embassy in Libya."
The decision makes Libya the first country to recognise the SNC as Syria's legitimate government, although the former is still only run by an interim council and still battling pockets of loyalists to the ousted Moamer Kadhafi.
Dissidents officially declared the formation of the Syrian National Council in Turkey on October 2, saying they had established a "historic" united front against Assad that brings in groups from across the political spectrum.
"The Syrian National Council reunites the forces of the opposition and the peaceful revolution," Paris-based academic Burhan Ghalioun told reporters in Istanbul, announcing the new umbrella movement which he called "historic."
He said the SNC aims to "mobilise all categories of people in Syria and give the necessary support for the revolution to progress and realise the aspirations of our people for the overthrow of the regime, its symbols and its head."
Apparently modelled on Libya's NTC, the Syrian council is to elect a president and have a 29-strong general secretariat representing seven of the country's opposition factions.
It comprises six members of the Local Coordination Committees, five Muslim Brotherhood and tribal representatives, four from the so-called Damascus Declaration and four for a liberal grouping led by Ghalioun.
The remaining members of the secretariat are five independents, four Kurds and a Christian.