BENGHAZI, Libya, March 23 (UPI) -- Rebel leaders in Libya announced they formed an interim government bent on maintaining the unity of the country, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Fighters loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are attacking rebel positions in the country despite international forces enforcing a no-fly zone under a U.N. Security Council mandate.
Opposition spokesman Nisan Gouriani told al-Jazeera that a transitional council was formed that appointed Mahmoud Jibril as interim prime minister.
"We are striving to liberate the western parts of the country and Tripoli and keep the country united," he said. "We would like to emphasize this over and over again."
Ali al-Issawi, the former Libyan envoy to India, announced March 10 in Paris that France recognized "the (Interim Transitional) National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people."
Jibril met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris as France led the way in its assessment that Gadhafi was no longer the legitimate leader of Libya.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which enacted the no-fly zone, authorizes member states to "take all necessary measures" to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi's forces. The international community is debating whether or not that means regime change.
France was leading the international military response in Libya.