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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libya Contact Group declares Gaddafi regime illegitimate

RIA Novosti

19:40 15/07/2011 ANKARA, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - More than 30 nations that have recognized Libya's main opposition group as the country's government declared on Friday that Muammar Gaddafi's regime had lost its legitimacy.

The Libya Contact Group, meeting in Istanbul, said "the Gaddafi regime no longer has any legitimate authority in Libya," and that Gaddafi and his family members must go.

The group, comprised of about 40 states, as well as representative of the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union, recognized the opposition National Transitional Council as "the legitimate governing authority in Libya" until the establishment of an interim authority.

"Until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-government forces since mid-February. An international military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution and has been extended until September.

UN Security Council Resolution 1970, passed in February, prohibited states from providing any kind of arms to Libya. Resolution 1973, passed a month later, authorized countries "to take all necessary measures" to help protect Libyan civilians.

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