Libya cuts diplomatic ties with France
Libya has suspended its relations with France over what it calls the "illegal" decision to recognise a rebel council. The Libyan foreign ministry accuses France of seeking to sow sedition and says it has information that could topple President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim said that the self-proclaimed national council, which France has formally recognised, represents "nothing but itself. It was not elected. It does not represent the regions of Libya, not even in the east", where the rebels have their strongholds.
"France's aim is solely to divide Libya," he claimed.
Shortly after France recognised the council, Libyan state media reported it had been informed of a "grave secret" that would lead to Sarkozy's downfall.
Kaaim said he would not reveal the information because he did not wish to interfere in France's internal affairs.
But he added that "the judiciary only has to open an investigation on the sources of financing for the electoral campaign of the French president".
France is the first country to recognise Libya's opposition as the people's official representatives. It has closed its embassy in Tripoli and asked Russia to represent its interests there.
The EU has not joined France in officially recognising the rebel council, though it did term it a "political interlocutor" at its meeting on Friday.
Meanwhile the US on Friday announced fresh sanctions on nine members of Moamer Kadhafi's regime, including his wife, several of his children, the minister of defence and the director of military intelligence.
"Across the board, we are slowly tightening the noose on Kadhafi," President Barack Obama said. "We're going to have to continue to apply pressure."
Kaaim also announced that a United Nations team will visit Libya on Saturday, to assess humanitarian needs and supplies.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had earlier announced that special envoy Abdelilah al-Khatib would be sent to Libya this weekend, to put across to the regime the UN's concern about the unrest "in no uncertain terms".