NEW YORK/EAST OF SIRTE, Libya - Libya will likely name a new government within 10 days, interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said, raising hopes of political progress in the fractured country weeks after the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi.
Libya`s de facto rulers won expressions of support from Washington, the African Union and South Africa on Tuesday and its new flag flew for the first time at the United Nations.
"I expect the government to be announced in the next week to 10 days maximum," Jibril said after a G8 conference on aiding Arab countries` transition to democracy taking place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
"I`m not bothered by the time consumed to bring about a national consensus," he said.
Discussions in Libya to set up a more inclusive interim government have fallen apart before. The National Transitional Council (NTC), still based in the eastern city of Benghazi, has faced questions about whether it can unify a country divided on tribal and local lines.
Libya`s new rulers are trying to dislodge well-armed Gadhafi loyalists from several towns and have yet to start a countdown toward writing a constitution and holding elections.
Jibril said among the considerations the interim leaders were debating were the number of ministries in the new government and whether they would be in Tripoli or divided between eastern and western Libya.
He said there would be some democratic improvements to make the OPEC member state more transparent.
"With this government comes other structures such as an international tendering body to add some sort of transparency and some credibility to the work of the government," he said.
The African Union, which frequently has been criticised for its ponderous reaction to events on its doorstep, said on Tuesday it was ready to support the NTC.
South Africa, the continent`s pre-eminent economic power which has a major say in AU policy, also said it would recognise the NTC, ending a long-standing relationship with Gadhafi.
International leaders at the UN conference congratulated Libyans -- and themselves -- for Gadhafi`s removal by NATO-backed rebels in a seven-month conflict.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, welcoming Libya`s new leaders into the international community, said the Security Council had acted to protect the Libyan people from violence.
"Today, we must once again respond with such speed and decisive action -- this time to consolidate peace and democracy," Ban added.
Gadhafi, who is on the run, taunted the Western alliance in a speech broadcast by a Syrian-based television station on Tuesday, saying: "The bombs of NATO planes will not last."