ROME (Reuters) - Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands quickly denied on Thursday a claim by Libyan rebels that the three governments had recognized the Transitional National Council fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
“There are three more countries that have recognized us this morning, Holland, Denmark and Spain. And there will be possibly more after the meeting,” TNC spokesman Mahmoud Shammam told reporters at a gathering of an international anti-Gaddafi coalition in Rome.
But all three countries said Shammam was wrong, denying they had joined Italy and France in recognizing the Benghazi-based council.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini had earlier appealed for more members of the anti-Gaddafi coalition to recognize the TNC at the Rome meeting.
“That report is wrong ... We have done no such thing,” Danish foreign ministry spokesman Jean Ellermann Kingombe told Reuters. “We have not taken steps to formally recognize the TNC,” he said, adding: “There is a willingness to engage (with the TNC) but no formal recognition.”
Denmark considered the TNC as a relevant partner for dialogue, He said.
A foreign ministry source in Madrid said Spain had not changed its stance toward the rebels as did a Dutch spokesman in Rome.
Shammam also said that the cash-strapped rebels had only enough funds to pay for their immediate needs in food, public salaries and medicine until the end of May. They needed $2-3 billion dollars in urgent funding, he said.
Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Barry Moody; editing by David Stamp