France recognises Libyan rebels as government
France has become the first country to recognise the Libyan rebel leadership, the National Libyan Council (NLC), as the country's legitimate government.
It came as Nato met to discuss military options in the Libyan conflict including a possible no-fly zone.
There is growing concern about the bombing of rebel-held areas by the forces of Col Muammar Gaddafi.
A BBC team detained and beaten up in Libya witnessed widespread mistreatment by the security forces.
In recent days, pro-Gaddafi forces have tried to regain ground in the rebel-held east, and have bombarded rebel forces in the town of Zawiya, 50km (30 miles) west of Tripoli.