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S. Korea recognizes Libya's rebel council
SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Wednesday it has officially recognized Libya's rebel-led council as the North African nation's legitimate government, joining much of the world in giving credibility to the rebel leadership.

   International efforts to support the rebel Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) are intensifying as the 42-year-old regime of Moammar Gadhafi is on the verge of collapse with rebel forces storming Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli.

   "The Republic of Korea acknowledges the National Transitional Council as the legitimate governing authority representing the Libyan people," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae, referring to South Korea by its official name.

   Cho said that "the situation in Libya has recently entered its end phase," pledging that South Korea will actively support the NTC to help the Libyan people "achieve political stability and peace, and to establish a free, democratic country."

   South Korea is stepping up its diplomatic efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the government-in-waiting in Libya, including US$1 million in cash aid.

   The Seoul government plans to take part in a meeting of the international Contact Group on Libya next month to discuss with other nations about additional assistance for the Libyan rebels.

   Thirty-two nations and seven international organizations, including the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are members of the group, which was established with the aim of coordinating international efforts to map out Libya's future.

   kdh@yna.co.kr
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