Algeria will officially recognize Libya's new rulers, once the former rebels form a new government representative of all Libyans, the country's foreign minister said.
Algeria was close to deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and has been a lone holdout among Arab countries in recognizing the National Transitional Council that overthrew the longtime Libyan ruler.
"I believe that we have been clear to our brothers in the NTC about the necessity of forming a government representing all Libyans," Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said late Sunday at a press conference with his Malian counterpart.
Relations between the former rebels, who now control all but three cities in the oil-rich North African nation, have been strained with neighboring Algeria, especially after it gave refuge to Gadhafi's wife, daughter and two of his sons.
Together with other African countries that had close ties with Gadhafi, Algeria has been reluctant to engage with Libya's new rulers.
Medelci, however, said in the last 15 days, direct contacts between the two countries have been initiated and a dialogue is developing.
He added that for Algeria, Mali and the other countries of the African Union, recognition of the Libyan council was conditional on the formation of a government composed of all elements of society _ in an apparent reference to those who supported Gadhafi's regime.
Top Libyan officials, including acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and council chief Mustafa Abdul-Jalil have arrived in Tripoli and say the former rebels will announce a new government in the coming days.