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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid