Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council said on Monday that it recognizes 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 recognize the Syrian National Council as the sole legitimate government in Syria,” NTC member Mussa al-Koni told a news conference in Tripoli.
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 recognize 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 Moammar Qaddafi.
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 “mobilize all categories of people in Syria and give the necessary support for the revolution to progress and realize the aspirations of our people for the overthrow of the regime, its symbols and its head.”
Apparently modeled 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.