Britain has formally recognized Libyan rebels seeking to topple Muammar Qaddafi as Libya's legitimate government and expelled the last of the Libyan Embassy staff in London.
"The prime minister and I have decided that the United Kingdom recognizes and will deal with the National Transitional Council as the sole governmental authority in Libya," Foreign Secretary William Hague told a news conference. "This decision reflects the National Transition Council's increasing legitimacy, competence, and success in reaching out to Libyans across the country."
He added that Britain was expelling all remaining staff from the Libyan Embassy in London and invited representatives of the rebels' National Transitional Council to replace diplomats loyal to Qaddafi.
The move implements a decision taken at a July 15 meeting in Istanbul during which the United States, Britain, and 30 other states recognized the National Transitional Council as Libya's sole legitimate government.
Britain had already expelled the Libyan ambassador in London following attacks on its embassy in Tripoli, as well as several other Libyan diplomats, including the country's military attache.
compiled from agency reports