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U.S., Western Countries Recognize Opposition As Libyan Government

The United States just announced that it now considers the main opposition group in Libya to be that country's legitimate government.

The Transitional National Council that opposes Col. Moammar Gadhafi won international recognition from the U.S. and other members of the Contact Group, the 22 nations who coalesced to address Libya's future . NPR's Peter Kenyon is at the Group's summit in Istanbul and tells NPR Newscast Desk that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement.

The Associated Press notes that "diplomatic recognition of the council means that the U.S. will be able to fund the opposition with some of the more than $30 billion in Gadhafi-regime assets that are frozen in American banks."

As Eyder wrote this week, France has apparently been holding serious talks with Gadhafi "emissaries" about getting the Libyan ruler to leave power.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: OnMorning Edition, NPR's Corey Flintoff reported that while "the Libyan government maintains that the capital, Tripoli, is a stronghold of support for leader Moammar Gadhafi ... for reporters who manage to slip away from their government minders, pockets of opposition aren't hard to find."

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