Since its creation in late February, the Transitional National Council (TNC) has established itself as the undisputed leadership of the rebellion and the diversity of its members makes it  today the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Today, only France and Italy have officially recognized the TNC. The UK is the first country to have formally invited the TNC to open a diplomatic office within its borders though this will not count as an embassy as Britain has not formally recognised the Council as the legitimate government  Other member states short of a formal recognition have stressed that  political contacts with the TNC supporting the democratic change in Libya are important.  

To enable the Council to establish itself as the only legitimate and viable alternative to the Qaddafi regime, all EU member states should support the Council as the nucleus of a post-Qaddafi government. Support should begin with expanding diplomatic relations and providing humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected areas, as well as urgent economic assistance.

The purpose of the TNC is:

1. To ensure the safety and peace of citizens and the national territory;
2. To coordinate national efforts to liberate the remaining quarters of the nation;
3. To coordinate the efforts of local councils working towards the return of civic life;
4. To supervise the military council so as to ensure the realization of a new doctrine for the national army towards the defense of the Libyan people and protection of its borders;
5. To supervise the election of a founding assembly charged with developing a new constitution for the country to be submitted to public referendum, so that the legitimacy of the constitution is founded on: the will of the people, respect for human rights, guarantee of civil liberties, separation of powers, an independent judiciary and the establishment of national institutions that provide for broad and pluralistic participation, the peaceful transition of authority and the right of representation for every segment of Libyan society;
6. To form a transitional government to pave the way for free elections;
7. To conduct and to steer foreign policy, to organize relations with foreign nations and international and regional organizations, and to represent the Libyan people before them.

By a resolution on 10 March 2011, the European Parliament called on the EU to establish direct relations with the Interim Transitional National Council and to support them in the liberated area so as to relieve the population and to meet its basic humanitarian needs, including medical assistance. Mr. Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament reiterated that the EP resolution calls to 'start the process to make the TNC official as interlocutors'.

The European Union plans to open an office in the city of Benghazi to support the TNC  and facilitate assistance for security sector reform and institution-building, education, health care, security on the borders.

Political recognition of the TNC by individual EU member states is required because the more countries that recognize the TNC, the greater the pressure on the regime to collpase. Political recognition of the TNC should also include giving it all the support it requires.There are humanitarian, practical and financial needs.

Let's not play the ostrich-style head in the sand game i.e; "we only recognize states not governments'. What we are talking here about is political recognition. Political recognition entails the expression of a willingness to enter into political relations

If for no other reasons the following EU countries who are among the top 10 importers of libyan oil would be well advised to grant political recognition of the TNC if only to protect their interests in the future: Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland.  



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