12 June 2011
Germany has recognised Libya's rebels as "the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people", the BBC reports.
"We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without [Muammar] Gaddafi," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in the rebel stronghold Benghazi.
"The national council is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people."
German opposition politicians, media commentators and foreign policy experts had sharply criticised the government for its position on Col Gaddafi, accusing it of failing to live up to its international obligations.
Mr Westerwelle said in Benghazi that staying out of the Nato-led operation did not mean Berlin was being neutral.
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