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Philippines recognizes Libya's National Transitional Council

(Xinhua)

09:37, August 31, 2011

MANILA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines on Tuesday announced that it officially recognized the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate government in Libya.

As members of the Gaddafi family departs Libya and sought refuge in neighboring Algeria, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) referred to the NTC as the "legitimate representative of the Libyan people" and urged it to "lead the country towards peace and security."

"The Philippines recognizes the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people during this period of transition in the country," a DFA statement said.

Manila's support for the NTC indicates the country's new policy towards Libya after it had hesitated in the past to immediately shift sides as Gaddafi's grip on power waned to safeguard hundreds of Filipino workers from possible retaliatory attacks.

While countries led by the United States and the European Union ceased recognizing the Gaddafi administration earlier this year, the Philippine government initially remained adamant to their calls to cut off ties with the Libyan leader.

The DFA said the Philippines looks forward to working with the new government and the Libyan people in sustaining and "enhancing a relationship based on friendship, understanding, and mutual respect."

Through the years, it noted, the Philippines and Libya have shared a history of excellent relations.

Manila also asked the new government to once again accept Filipino workers to the country.

"The Philippines hopes to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of the new Libya in the form of Filipino professionals in the construction, energy and medical fields," it said.

Prior to the political upheaval and armed hostilities, Libya was home to at least 12,000 Filipinos, mostly employed as nurses, engineers and oil workers.

But when fighting all over Libya erupted, the Philippine government was forced to evacuate about 10,000 of its workers. Currently, close to 2,000 workers, who resisted taking part in ongoing government-organized evacuation, have remained in Libya amid continued security concerns.

"The Philippine government reiterates its thanks and appreciation to the Libyan people for keeping Filipinos in Libya safe throughout the conflict," the DFA statement said.

Security alert level 4, which calls for mass evacuation of Filipinos in Libya due to ongoing conflicts, will remain until security has stabilized.

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