Paris: Algeria said on Thursday it is ready to recognise Libya's former rebels when they form a broad-based government and insisted it had not offered an escape route to ousted strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Algeria's Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci told Europe 1 radio that Libya's National Transitional Council had vowed to set-up a "government representative of all regions" and added: "When it has done so, we'll recognise it."

Algeria angered Libya's new former rebel government on Saturday by allowing one of Gaddafi's wives and some of his children and grandchildren to cross the border and seek sanctuary from the manhunt targeting the ousted strongman.

This fed into a suspicion the NTC leadership already felt for its larger neighbour, based on reports that Algeria had supported Gaddafi's bid to cling to power with arms supplies and might now grant him protective asylum.

But Medelci dismissed this, adding that he had spoken by telephone to NTC number two Mahmud Jibril and planned to hold talks later Tuesday in Paris with the movement's president, de facto Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

"The hypothesis that Gaddafi could come knocking on our door was never considered," said Medelci, a few hours before he was to attend a conference in Paris of countries France has dubbed "friends of Libya".

France, which has mobilised international support for the CNT, is glad Algeria has agreed to attend the talks, but Foreign Minister Alain Juppe expressed regret the country had yet to recognise the new regime.

"Algeria has had an ambiguous attitude throughout this affair, that's the least you can say," he told RTL radio, adding that he had spoken to Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

"He assured me he had never sent anything other that humanitarian aid. I hope that checks out," he said.

Algeria, a former French colony, shares with Gaddafi a distrust of Western interference in North Africa and is concerned that the rebels that overthrew him include Islamists sympathetic to militants within its own borders.

According to the Algerian daily El-Watan's online Wednesday edition, Gaddafi has tried to negotiate with Algerian authorities to enter the country from a Libyan border town where he is holed up after the NTC seized Tripoli.

(Agencies)