Bulgaria Does Not Recognize Libyan Rebels as Legitimate Govt
Bulgaria does not recognize the Libyan opposition transitional National Council as the country's legitimate government, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov announced.
"We recognize countries, and not organizations, but we have to keep good relations with everybody in order to ensure the safety of our nationals and Bulgaria's long-term interests in the region," Mladenov told the Bulgarian Darik Radio on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, he announced that the country will restore its consulate in Benghazi. Earlier, France, which was the first country to recognize the transitional National Council, said it would send its representative in the Libyan city.
"Restoration of the consulate means that Bulgaria wants to have full information about what is happening in Tripoli and Benghazi," Mladenov said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Bulgarian government approved the deployment of the navy frigate "Drazki" (i.e. "Daring") to join NATO's Operation "United Protector" patrolling off Libya's coast to enforce a UN arms embargo.
"The Bulgarian troops will provide important skills, necessary for the successful conduction of the operation, and will be a significant contribution to the joint efforts of NATO to demonstrate determination and willingness for resolving the crisis in Libya," the government press office said.
Bulgaria's Defense Minister Anyu Angelov said that the frigate's crew will not enter into direct combat and will act only in self-defense, if being attacked.
The government approved sending the frigate for three months to the Mediterranean Sea to take part in the operation, but it will not stay there during the whole period. The length of stay of each ship in the Mediterranean is one month in general before rotation is done.
In addition to sending in the Drazki frigate, Bulgaria has confirmed its readiness to send two medical teams for a humanitarian operation on the ground in Libya.
So far, only France and Qatar have recognized the transitional National Council as the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.
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