TheBotswana government has invited the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) to open an embassy in the capital, Gaborone. The government recently announced its decision to recognise the NTC, in contradiction with positions of both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.
Botswana government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay says their decision follows the latest developments in Libya which saw Muammar Gaddafi's regime losing its legitimacy. But political expert Andre Duvenage has warned that this is likely to strain relations between Botswana and South Africa.
Botswana was one of the first African countries to break rank with Gaddafi
Zimbabwe closed the Libyan embassy recently after the ambassador endorsed the Council. When announcing that Botswana was granting recognition to Libya's transitional rulers, a government statement called on pro-Gaddafi forces to lay down their arms to avoid further loss of lives.
Botswana was one of the first African countries to break rank with Gaddafi, severing diplomatic ties in February in protest at his forces crackdown on anti-government protests. Botswana has also given sanctuary to the former Libyan ambassador to Zimbabwe, who was ordered to leave for recognising Libya's new rulers.