News / Africa

Clinton in Libya Vows Support For Democracy

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Libyan soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli in Libya, October 18, 2011.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Libyan soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli in Libya, October 18, 2011.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Libya Tuesday to show support for the leaders Washington and other NATO countries helped bring to power.  The visit highlights the struggle of Libya's interim government to prove it is strong enough on its own.

Hillary Clinton is the highest level U.S. official to go to Libya since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi and the rise of the National Transitional Council.

She met with NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil and interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and offered a variety of assistance and support for a transition to democratic rule.

In a press conference with Jibril, Clinton said it was an honor to stand on the soil of a "free Libya" and a privilege to see a "new future for Libya being born."

America's top diplomat offered help for Libya to establish greater security. "I am pleased to announce that we are going to put even more money into helping Libya secure and destroy dangerous stockpiles of weapons. And the administration, working with Congress, is going to provide $40 million to support this effort.  We will also work with Libya to destroy chemical weapons stock," said Clinton.

And she promised millions more dollars in aid for a nation trying to rebuild. The help ranges from military equipment to educational and economic programs, medical care for wounded fighters, and archeological help in preserving Libya's Greek and Roman-era ruins.

The United States was an early backer, along with France and Britain, of intervention on behalf of the anti-Gadhafi uprising earlier this year and helped persuade the United Nations to mandate a NATO-led air mission to protect civilians.

But such help could come at a cost.  The NTC has yet to consolidate either military or political rule.

Libya scholar Ziad Akl of the Ahram Center in Cairo says the various parties contending for power could accuse the NTC of over-reliance on the West.

"There seems to be an agreement on the necessity of the role of the West," said Akl. "It's just the amount of obedience that they have to show and the amount of autonomy that the West should provide. And [it] should not condition its aid to following a specific agenda laid down by the Western allies."

The U.S. and European nations are not the only ones trying to build a partnership with the new leaders of the oil-rich nation.  Qatar moved quickly to side with the NTC, supporting the military mission and providing massive amounts of financial aid.  Turkey was slower to take sides, but has made up time with both economic and political support. Yet the Ahram Center's Akl believes, however problematic, Libya's new leadership will show allegiance to the West.

"There is political capital that the West had laid down there, that even the Qataris and Turks cannot ignore or step over," said the scholar.

Clinton's visit comes a day after the NTC declared near-victory over Gadhafi loyalists in the desert town of Bani Walid.  NTC fighters have yet to control the coastal city of Sirte and several southern areas.  The continued fighting has shown the limits of NATO's help in what is now more a guerrilla-style conflict.

Clinton and Libyan leaders discussed bringing the numerous anti-Gadhafi militias carrying out those operations under unified, national control.

U.S. officials say she also pushed for a pledge that the new government abide by the rule of law, in particular concerning prisoners' rights.  Human rights observers have criticized the NTC for not controlling the abuse of people in their custody.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs