US calls Libyan oppn 'credible' interlocutor of people

Posted By: Pti
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Washington, May 14: Insisting that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy to rule, the US has said it views the opposition national council of that country as a "credible" interlocutor of people there, but stopped short of granting the rebels full diplomatic recognition.

US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon hosted Mahmoud Gibril, President of the Libyan Transitional National Council's (TNC's) Executive Bureau, and his delegation at the White House last evening to discuss how Washington can help the rebels in their fight against Gaddafi.

Gibril has become the first senior official from the rebels' side to have talks at the White House.

During the meeting, Donilon said the US views the TNC as a legitimate and credible interlocutor of the Libyan people.

"In contrast, Mr Donilon stressed that Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and reiterated President Obama's call for Gaddafi to leave immediately," the White House said.

It said that Donilon met Gibril in order to continue the close consultations between the Obama administration and the leadership of TNC about the situation in that country.

Donilon and Gibril discussed how the US and the coalition can provide additional support to TNC. Donilon also applauded TNC''s commitment to an inclusive political transition and a democratic future for Libya.

However, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that recognition of TNC is still under consideration.

"We believe that the TNC is a credible and legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people. The question of recognition is one of many policy issues still under review.

We are continuing to assess the capabilities of the TNC as we deepen our engagement with the opposition," he told reporters.

"Ultimately it will be the people of Libya, not the international community, who will choose their leadership.

But we do applaud the TNC for its commitment to a democratic future for Libya," he said.

Carney said the US remains concerned about the plight of the Libyan people and the humanitarian situation in Libya.

"We believe that if we could access and use blocked government of Libya assets it could make a significant amount of money available to alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people," he said.

At the State Department, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg met with Gibril.

They had a positive and productive meeting that covered the range of issues related to the Transitional National Council's efforts in Libya.

"That includes, obviously, the dire humanitarian situation as well as the vesting question as well as the need to make funds available to alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people and to meet the operational needs of the opposition," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.


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