Russia recognized the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the government of Libya. Russia had opposed the NATO-led bombing campaign that helped topple Muammar al-Qaddafi, criticizing it for exceeding its mandate under a U.N. Security Council resolution, and calling for a negotiated solution to the conflict.
Russia on Thursday officially recognised Libya’s rebels as the governing authority in the country, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Russian Federation recognises Libya’s National Transitional Council as the ruling authority and notes its reform programme that includes the development of a new constitution, holding general elections and forming the government,” it said.
“Our country has established and continued diplomatic relations with Libya since September 4, 1955 without a break, no matter what government holds power in Tripoli,” it said.
“We act on the premise that the agreements and other mutual obligations formerly reached between Russia and Libya remain in effect in the relationship between the two countries and will be honored.”
The annoucement came as World leaders were to meet in Paris to plot Libya’s post-Kadhafi future.
Thursday’s conference in the French capital, which will be attended by delegates from 60 countries, is expected to discuss funding for Libya as well as police training and diplomatic recognition for its new rulers.
Russia though speaking out the most against the enforcement of the no-fly-zone had no logical choice but to recognize the National Transitional Council after numerous countries such as Turkey, Germany, France, U.K., U.S., and the United Nations did. If Russia was the odd man out it would be severely in a bad position when it came to doing business in Libya due to the fact that it was very close to the old regime. Billions of arms sales, oil contracts were signed when Qaddafi was in power and Russia has been reluctant to recognize the NTC because of uncertainty that those contracts would be upheld once the new leadership is in place.
Here is video report by Russian state controlled Russia Today on the announcement.