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WASHINGTON Aug 25 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund would be able to recognize a new Libyan government if such a move were supported by its 187 member countries, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday, calling for a swift end to the conflict.
"When there is a clear, broad-based, international recognition of a new government in Libya, it is at that point the fund could or would move towards recognition," IMF spokesman David Hawley told a regular briefing for reporters.
While oil-rich Libya is not likely to need IMF financing, the institution's stamp of approval is needed for international financial and development institutions like the World Bank or African Development Bank to be involved in post-conflict reconstruction.
Diplomats, however, warn that it is still very early days as rebel fighters continue to battle pockets of troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, who fled his compound and is in hiding.
Western and Middle East diplomats told Reuters the rebel National Transitional Council is concerned that if the process to unfreeze Libya's assets is delayed by U.N. or other bureaucratic hurdles, it may have to seek bridge financing from institutions like the World Bank.
Some 30 governments across the world have already said they recognize the rebel transitional council as the legitimate representative of Libya.
An opportunity to discuss Libya's post-conflict rebuilding would be at meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington on Sept. 24-25.
Hawley said any future IMF engagement in Libya would have to be led by the Libyans.
"The nature of our engagement going forward will depend on the wishes of any internationally recognized government in the country," said Hawley.
Meanwhile, a senior official for the Libyan rebel government said on Thursday it hoped to restart crude exports within two weeks. Ali Tarhouni, the official in charge of financial and oil matters, told Reuters that damage to most of Libya's oil fields had been less than expected. For full interview, see [ID:nL5E7JP2ZF] (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish and Leslie Adler)