BENGHAZI - Germany recognized Libya's rebel council as the country's sole legitimate representative on Monday and promised to help it restore its shattered economy once veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi is gone.
Germany has opposed the Western bombing campaign in Libya, saying military intervention is not the best way to end Gaddafi's four-decade rule, and has resisted NATO calls for broader support for its military action.
Visiting rebel capital Benghazi, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle defended Germany's position, saying Berlin was determined to help oust Gaddafi but through peaceful methods.
"We didn't change our mind. We think that Colonel Gaddafi has lost any (legitimacy) to speak for the people of Libya. ... The fact that we do not participate in the military intervention does not mean that we are neutral," he told a news conference.