US accredits rebel representative as new Libya envoy

Libyan National Council Representative
Ali Aujali
© AFP/Getty Images/File Alex Wong

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said Monday it has accredited Libyan opposition envoy Ali Aujali as Libya’s new ambassador to Washington.

The United States two weeks ago transferred the Libyan embassy in Washington to the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC,) which Washington has recognized as Libya’s de facto government.

After Moamer Kadhafi’s forces tried to crush a pro-democracy uprising inspired by events in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, Aujali defected in February to the opposition after serving as Kadhafi’s ambassador to Washington.

“Aujali has been accredited and the embassy has been opened,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters after saying he had been issued a visa to the United States on Friday.

State Department officials said they expected Aujali has also been authorized to gain access to frozen Libyan embassy accounts, which the officials said amount to between $10 million and $12 million.

At a meeting last month in Istanbul, the United States and other powers recognized the NTC as “the legitimate governing authority in Libya” until an interim government is formed.

The United States announced on March 10 that it was shutting down the Libyan embassy here, weeks after it withdrew its diplomats from the US embassy in Tripoli as Kadhafi’s forces used violence against the uprising.

© AFPPublished at Activist Post with license

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