Libyan rebels will hold meetings with NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and European Union president Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels next week, NATO and EU said.
Mr. Rasmussen has invited the rebel representatives for a meeting at alliance headquarters for the first time on July 13, a NATO diplomat said. The gathering was agreed on by ambassadors of the 28-nation alliance.
“NATO countries agreed to invite the rebels because there is no NATO representation in Benghazi yet,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity, referring to the rebel bastion in eastern Libya.
Separately, a European diplomat said a member of the National Transitional Council (NTC) will meet Mr. Van Rompuy next week. The TNC official may also meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso next week.
While the 27-nation EU has opened a mission in Benghazi, NATO does not have an office there.
NATO officials declined to confirm whether Mr. Rasmussen had invited the rebels, but noted he has met NTC officials at meetings abroad of the international contact group on Libya.
“NATO has had contacts with the (NTC) as part of the broad international efforts to find a solution to the Libya crisis,” a NATO official said.
“For instance, the secretary general has met representatives of the (NTC) in the context of the contact group. Such meetings have taken place and will continue to take place,” the official said.
Several NATO nations, including the United States, Britain and France, have recognized the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Turkey became the latest alliance member to recognize them, doing so on Monday.