There has been a furious reaction from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to the US recognition of Libyan rebel leaders as the country’s legitimate representatives.
In an audio speech broadcast to a rally of supporters, he called NATO ‘idiots’ and said the recognitions were ‘worthless’.
The US announced the decision to recognise the Transitional National Council (TNC) at a diplomatic meeting in Istanbul.
“Until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognise the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya and we will deal with it on that basis. In contrast the United States views the Gaddafi regime as no longer having legitimate authority in Libya,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The move could see billions of dollars in frozen Libyan funds released to the rebels.
The meeting in Turkey of the international contact group agreed a road map which would see Gaddafi leave power, leading to a transition to democracy.
All of which must seem like a long way off to besieged forces fighting the colonel’s army.
Rebels on the front line near Misrata are facing a daily pounding of rockets and mortars. The attacks have stalled their attempts to advance towards Tripoli.
For them, western nations’ promises to increase the military pressure on Gaddafi’s forces must be welcome news.