Source: XINHUA | 2011-8-26 | ONLINE EDITION
NICOSIA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus on Friday recognized the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate representative of the people of Libya, until democratic elections are held in the country, Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis said in a statement.
"We are witnessing a remarkable wind of change in our neighboring Libya," Markoullis said, "For this interim period and until democratic elections are held in our neighboring country, Cyprus recognizes the NTC as the legitimate representative of the people of Libya."
The minister said Cyprus was ready to provide all possible assistance to the NTC, "both bilaterally and within the context of the European Union," and called on the rebel-led body to engage in a swift transition process towards democracy, rule of law, social justice and human rights.
"We strongly believe that at the dawn of a new Libya, the NTC has the duty to lead a genuine reconciliation effort to fulfill the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Libyan people," Markoullis said.
"To this end, it is of utmost importance that free, fair and democratic elections for the new government of Libya, are held as soon as developments on the ground allow so," she concluded in the statement, urging embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to "surrender immediately" to avoid further bloodshed.