The African Union has recognized Libya's National Transitional Council as the official representative of the Libyan people, dealing another blow to embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The 54-member bloc said Tuesday it is ready to support the NTC as it works to form an inclusive government.
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who holds the AU's rotating chair, said the bloc supports the Libyan people as they build a "united, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Libya."
The AU had been reluctant to recognize the provisional authority, which now controls most of Libya.
Gadhafi had used his country's oil wealth to pay large membership dues to the African Union and also served as its chairman in 2009.
The AU has insisted that the NTC be inclusive and work toward unity, reconciliation and democracy. It also called on the NTC to protect all foreign worker in Libya, particularly African migrant workers. There are reports that militia have targeted Africa migrants suspected of being pro-Gadhafi mercenaries.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.