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Qaddafi Rejects International Recognition Of Rebels

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Mahmud Jibril, chairman of Libya's opposition Transitional National Council, in Istanbul on July 15.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has rejected the recognition by 40 countries and international organizations of the rebel Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

Qaddafi told his supporters in an audio message broadcasted on state-run Libyan TV that the decision was "silly."

The Libya Contact Group, which met on July 15 in Istanbul, announced that it recognized the Libyan rebels' council as the representative of the people and a "government authority."

The final statement at the end of the group added that "the Qaddafi regime no longer has any legitimate authority in Libya."

The recognition amounts to an important upgrade of the diplomatic status of the Libyan opposition in the world and puts enormous pressure on Qaddafi to step aside.

Meanwhile, a Libyan medical official says 10 rebel fighters have been killed in an attack on a strategic eastern oil town.

Mohammed Idris said rebel forces entered the front-line town of Brega on July 15 and that government shelling and land mines killed the 10 fighters.

compiled from agency reports