'Until the interim authority is in place, participants agreed to deal with The National Transition Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.'
With those words, read today at an Istanbul meeting of the multistate Libya Contact Group, more than 30 countries extended formal recognition to Libyan rebels fighting longtime leader Muammar el-Qaddafi.
As we've posted, the move gives the rebel Council, which "has said it would form a government within a year," some "'international standing'" -- and that renders it eligible for funding, either from release of frozen Libyan assets or from foreign aid.
Among the countries signing the statement was the United States. It thus joins others that already had recognized the Council.
Today's statement is the latest step in a dance of diplomacy that continues even as NATO continues to use of force in aid of anti-Qaddafi forces.