UK expels Gaddafis diplomats, recognises rebels

London: Hardening its stand on Libya, Britain on Wednesday asked the Libyan charge d`affaires and other diplomats to leave the country and announced that it would recognise the rebel council as the "sole governmental authority".

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK will ask the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya to appoint a new diplomatic envoy.He said recognising the NTC could help "legally in the unfreezing of some assets".

The NTC had shown its commitment to a "more open and democratic Libya… in stark contrast to (Muammar) Gaddafi whose brutality against the Libyan people has stripped him of all legitimacy", Hague said at a press conference.

He said the UK would now deal with the NTC "on the same basis as other governments around the world". Hague said: "We no longer recognise them as the representatives of the Libyan government and we are inviting the National Transitional Council to appoint a new Libyan diplomatic envoy to take over the Libyan embassy in London".

The Foreign Office said the charge d`affaires, Khaled Benshaban, would be given three days to leave.