News / Africa

US Joins 30 Countries in Recognizing Libyan Rebels

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R), British Foreign Secretary William Hague (R), Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) attend the Libya contact group meeting in Istanbul July 15, 2
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R), British Foreign Secretary William Hague (R), Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) attend the Libya contact group meeting in Istanbul July 15, 2

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Robert Powell, Economist Intelligence Unit

The United States joined 30 other countries Friday in formally recognizing Libya’s opposition Transitional National Council as the “legitimate governing authority." The decision announced at a meeting of the international Libya Contact Group in Turkey, will increase pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and allow the transfer of impounded Libyan funds to the rebels.

The United States had previously only referred to the opposition TNC as Libya’s “legitimate interlocutor.”

It made the decision to join other contact group members in full political recognition after the council’s leader, Mahmoud Jibril, presented a detailed plan here for a transition to an inclusive democracy once Mr. Gadhafi yields to international pressure to step aside.

VOA's Susan Yackee speaks with Robert Powell of the Economist Intelligence Unit in New York about the US recognizing Libya's rebel TNC:

U.S. officials said the meeting broke into spontaneous applause when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the move, which could eventually free billions of dollars in Libyan money frozen in U.S. banks for the financially hard-pressed TNC.

Clinton told reporters the decision was based on the progress the TNC has made in laying groundwork for a transition to a “unified, democratic Libya” which protects the rights of all its citizens including women and minority groups.

“Until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya and we will deal with it on that basis," said Clinton. "In contrast, the United States views the Gadhafi regime as no longer having legitimate authority in Libya.”

Senior administration officials said nearly $32 billion in frozen Libyan assets will remain in U.S. banks until legal issues can be ironed out.

They said one option would be to let the TNC borrow against the sum until direct transfers can be authorized by, among others, the United Nations sanctions committee.

At a Contact Group plenary session, Turkish Foreign Minister and conference chairman Ahmet Davutoglu said the TNC’s financial needs are acute.

“Above all the elevation of the TNC’s urgent need for cash is of primary importance as we approach the holy month of Ramadan," he said. "In this respect, I would like to encourage all our partners in the Contact Group to consider opening credit lines to the TNC, amounting to a certain percentage of the Libyan frozen assets in their country. As such, Turkey has already opened a credit line of $200 million to the TNC.

France and Italy, among the early countries to accord the TNC full recognition, also announced new financial pledges.

Clinton told the conference the international community needs to “plan in earnest” for Libya’s future after Mr. Gadhafi. She told reporters the  TNC’s road map for a new democratic Libya was convincing, but that the process will not be easy.

“We believe them," she said. "We believe that’s what they intend to do. We are well aware of how difficult and challenging the road ahead them is. We are a long way from the kind of implementation that we all seek. We can watch what’s happening in their neighbors, which had strong institutions. And here we have a country in Libya where it was part of Colonel Gadhafi’s modus operandi to have no institutions.”

Senior officials said the United States will continue to be represented in the TNC stronghold of Benghazi by senior U.S. diplomat Chris Stevens and there will be no immediate move to set up a formal American mission there. The Obama administration some time ago halted contacts with Libya’s Washington embassy and expelled pro-Gadhafi diplomats.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs