Arab League and Egypt recognize Libyan rebel council

As Libyan rebels advanced into Tripoli on Monday, the Arab League and Egypt issued statements backing the rebels' National Transitional Council.

"Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby offers his full solidarity with the ongoing efforts under the leadership of the National Transitional Council," the Arab League said in a statement that was, according to Reuters, its first formal acknowledgement of the council.

The Arab League had suspended Libya's membership back in February, after Muammar al-Gaddafi began to crackdown on the uprising in the country, and the League later backed a no-fly zone. But until Monday the Arab League had not had formal dealings with the rebel council. 

"This is a historic moment that marks a milestone in the history of the Libyan people. We hope the council's efforts are successful in leading the new phase and protecting the independence, sovereignty and integrity of Libyan lands," the League's statement said.

Egypt, which had also been avoiding mention of the council, issued a statement recognizing the NTC as Libya's "legitimate leadership."

"Egypt recognized the new system in Libya and its legitimate leadership represented in the Libyan National Transitional Council," Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said in a statement.

Western leaders on Monday issued statements of their own, calling for Gaddafi to surrender.

"The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Muammar Gaddafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement, according to Reuters.

British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a statement saying the "end is near" for Gaddafi

"He has committed appalling crimes against the people of Libya and he must go now to avoid any further suffering for his own people," Cameron said.

Libyan rebels apparently took control of most of Tripoli on Monday, but forces loyal to Gaddafi were reportedly making a last stand, while Gaddafi himself remained at large.