News / Africa

US: Gadhafi Still at Large, But Politically Finished

Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, meets with Mostafa Abdel Jalil (R), Chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council interim government in Tripoli, September 14, 2011.
Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, meets with Mostafa Abdel Jalil (R), Chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council interim government in Tripoli, September 14, 2011.

The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit Tripoli since the fall of the Muammar Gadhafi regime said Wednesday the ousted Libyan ruler, though apparently still at large in the country, is finished politically. Assistant Secretary of State for Near eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman held talks with Libyan interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil and other officials of the National Transitional Council, the NTC.

Libya's interim government says the leaders of Britain and France will travel to the North African nation Thursday, becoming the first foreign heads of state to visit the country since the overthrow of former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Senior officials from Libya's National Transitional Council said British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in the capital, Tripoli, before traveling to the eastern city of Benghazi.

Neither London nor Paris offered any official confirmation of the visit.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also scheduled to visit Libya on Thursday as part of a North African tour.

Feltman says the Libyan conflict is by no means over, with pro-Gadhafi forces still in control of a large triangle of territory including the former dictator’s stronghold town of Sirt.

But in a telephone conference call with State Department reporters from Tripoli, Feltman says he was struck, in his talks with NTC leaders and civil society members, how quickly the four-decade ruler of the country has faded into irrelevance.

“In terms of the people that we’ve met today, to the extent that they’re representative of the city or the country as a whole, Gadhafi is already part of the past, which I found interesting. So it seems as though: yes, there’s a risk that the NTC recognizes, that you can’t declare that the country’s fully liberated until Gadhafi is apprehended, until the danger to Libya’s civilians is ended across-the-board. But politically, he’s already finished," he said.

Feltman said he was impressed by the degree to which normalcy has already returned to the capital, and the way in which the NTC is asserting centralized control over the disparate militia groups that waged the anti-Gadhafi uprising.

He also said the country, gearing for promised elections in eight months, appears to less threatened by tribal, regional and religious rivalries than was feared only weeks ago.

“The people saw that they’re going to be able play out their political differences through the ballot box and have time to prepare for that. I really did leave today feeling as though the question of east versus west, the question of Islamists versus non-Islamists, the question of Tripoli versus the rest of the country are being discussed in a way that one would expect to be discussed in sort of positive way, rather than a fearful way," he said.

Watch a Related Report by Al Pessin

Feltman said he pressed NTC leaders to make good on stated commitments to bring more women into government and respect human rights, including those of African migrant workers said to have been subject to recent racially-based attacks and abuse.

He said he paid a sad visit to the remains of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, which he said had been “pretty well trashed” by recent fighting and looting.

The State Department, none-the-less, is already moving diplomats into the capital from Benghazi. A spokesman saying Wednesday the United States intends to re-open an embassy as soon as possible regardless of whether the damaged chancery building can be salvaged.

More from VOA News

World Bank recognition

The World Bank said in a statement Tuesday its decision is based on events in Libya and the views of its member countries.  It also said it has been asked to examine the need for repairs to Libya's water, energy and transportation sectors, and to help the country's banking sector in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund.

The U.S. State Department said Tuesday Gadhafi's son, Saadi, is being detained in a state guest house in Niger, after crossing into the country earlier this week.  A State Department spokeswoman said it is "appropriate" for Niger and Libya to work together on the issue, and that it is up to the NTC to decide how to proceed.

Gadhafi loyalists in Niger

Officials in Niger say 32 people close to Gadhafi have fled to the central African nation since September 2.

Meanwhile, residents of one of Gadhafi's remaining strongholds fled Tuesday as NATO and NTC fighters continued to attack pro-Gadhafi forces.  Witnesses say dozens of cars left the town of Bani Walid while NATO planes flew overhead.

NATO said Wednesday its airstrikes a day earlier struck several targets near Sirte, another Gadhafi stronghold, including anti-aircraft guns and radar systems.

War crimes accusations

Tuesday, Amnesty International issued a report saying both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes during the six-month civil war. The report mainly details crimes against civilians committed by Gadhafi loyalists, but it also documents brutal revenge crimes committed by some provisional authority forces when loyalist fighters were ejected from eastern Libya.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid