Algeria is ready to recognise Libya's National Transitional Council, NTC, as soon as the new Libyan leaders establish a representative government, Algeria's foreign minister Mourad Medelci has said.
In an interview with French broadcaster Europe 1, Mourad said: "The National Transition Council has announced that it will soon be forming a government representative of all the regions of the country and once it does this we will recognise it."
Algeria is the only one of Libya's North African neighbours yet to recognise the NTC, whose fighters have taken control of the capital Tripoli and much of the rest of the country, ending Muammar Al Qathafi's 42-year rule.
Algerian officials say they are concerned that Islamist militants have infiltrated the NTC and that al-Qaeda's North African wing will exploit the chaos in Libya to acquire weapons and explosives.
"It is not a fear or a feeling, it is a certainty," Medelci said when asked about Algerian concerns that Islamists may make off with arms and equipment.
Medelci said Algeria would not give refuge to Al Qathafi himself, although it had allowed Al Qathafi's wife and three of his children to enter the country earlier this week.
He also denied accusations that Algeria had permitted pro-Al Qathafi mercenaries and smuggled fuel to enter Libya across the Algerian border.
Asked if Al Qathafi was in Algeria, Medelci replied: "Very clearly not. There was never a question and never did we consider the idea that one day Al Qathafi could come knocking at our door," he said.
It would be very interesting to know what could happen to the Al Qathafi family, if, and when Algeria recognises the NTC as Libya's legitimate authority. One would assume that the NTC would keep on asking for the members of the fugitive dictator to be extradited.
NTC Extends Ultimatum by On Week
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Libya's National Transitional Council said Thursday that the NTC has extended by one week its deadline for the surrender of Sirte. The previous deadline had been Saturday, September 3.
At the same time, negotiations between the NTC and the tribes of Harawa and Sirte, reportedly include some among them Al Qathafi loyalists. Both groups have laid out a series of conditions and guaranteees.
These guarantees, to be negotiated by the Magharba tribe based in the Bin Jawad area, and which has been given the role of negotiating on behalf of the NTC, include:
- that Libya’s rebel fighters will not loot, burn public buildings or search houses; but that all the weapons that Al Qathafi had distributed among the tribes, be handed over.
NTC officials have said they will attack the town if the Al Qathafi loyalists take the deposed leader's son Seif al-Islam's advis not surrender.
In another development, fugitive Al Qathafi, desperate as he is holed up hidden from the world, has used the Syrian-owned Arrai channel to broadcast another audio message calling on his supporters to set Libya alight. He vowed that his supporters would not give up. “Let there be a long fight and let Libya be engulfed in flames,” he said.
He ended the message by saying: ”We will not give up. We are not women. We will continue fighting.”