Libyan rebels to open office in US: top official

Feltman is in Benghazi
© AFP Saeed Khan

AFP

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Libya’s rebels have accepted an invitation to open a representative office in Washington, top United States official Jeffrey Feltman said on Tuesday.

“I delivered a formal invitation to the council for the opening of a representation in Washington,” Feltman told a news conference, referring to the rebels’ National Transitional Council.

“This step is an important milestone… and we are happy they accepted it,” he added.

Feltman, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, is in Benghazi for talks with the rebel leadership during a three-day visit.

On the issue of calls for US recognition of the NTC as the “sole legitimate interlocutor” of Libyans, Feltman noted the council was in fact already the only representative of the country in Washington.

“We have a special envoy in Benghazi. President (Barack) Obama has just invited the NTC to establish a representative office in Washington,” he said.

“We have no office in Tripoli now. And we asked the Kadhafi people to close their embassy in Washington.

“Our officials see members of the council, the council sees us,” said Feltman.

“There is ongoing diplomatic, political relationship and dialogue with members of the council who are considered by our fellows credible and legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.”

Britain, France, Gambia, Italy and Qatar have already recognised the rebel council as their sole interlocutor in Libya.

Feltman also announced the US was granting the Libyan opposition $53.5 million in aid, including for humanitarian needs, as well as $25 million in non-lethal military supplies.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

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