(PARIS) -- France formally recognized the Libyan opposition's Interim Governing Council Thursday, becoming the first country to do so.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said France sees the council as the "legitimate representative" of the people in Libya.
Thursday's announcement came as air strikes were launched against Libyan rebel forces in the oil port city of Ras Lanouf and NATO began its talks on possibly establishing a no-fly zone in the country.
Seceratary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she will be meeting with members of the Libyan opposition in Washington and when she travels to the region next week.
Clinton’s meeting would be the highest level US official to meet with the Libyan opposition. In the past week the US Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz has met with the opposition in Rome and Cairo.
Clinton’s remarks came during her ongoing opening statement before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
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