Libyan ambassador to Bosnia recognises rebel council

SARAJEVO - Libya's ambassador in Sarajevo, Salem Finnir, loyal until now to the regime of defiant leader Muammar Gadaffi, said Wednesday he is switching sides to the rebels.

"I announce my loyalty to the (rebel) National Transitional Council (NTC) and put myself, as well as the embassy, at its disposal," Finnir said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

"I hope that bloodshed will be stopped soon and that the peace, democracy and prosperity will be installed in our beloved Libya," he said.

Finnir also urged the authorities in Bosnia to recognise the NTC "as soon as possible" as it is "the only legitimate representative of Libya and its people."

A few dozen young people, mostly Libyan students in Bosnia, protested outside the embassy in Sarajevo on Monday, burning photos of Gaddafi and demanding that Finnir leaves.

The ambassador's move came a day after rebels overran Gaddafi's Tripoli compound, raising their flag and ripping the head off his statue.