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US recognises Libyan rebels as legitimate government

July 16, 2011 16:31 IST
The Obama administration has formally recognised Libya's Transitional National Council, as the country's legitimate government, giving foes of Muammar Gaddafi a major financial and credibility boost.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Friday that Washington accepts the TNC as the legitimate governing authority of the Libyan people. The diplomatic recognition of the council means that the US will be able to fund the opposition with some of the more than USD 30 billion in Gaddafi-regime assets that are frozen in American banks.

"It helps us answer or respond to one of the major requests that we've had from the TNC, which is their request for funding. We all are well aware that they are in need of additional funds," State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said.

"We did establish a temporary financial mechanism which has helped, and this recognition will allow us to access some of the frozen assets and get them to the TNC so that they can pay their bills and handle operational costs," he said.

"The other message that it clearly sends to Gaddafi and his regime is that we're looking past him, he's no longer legitimate, and he should get out of the way and allow for this democratic transition to take place," Toner said.

More than 30 nations, including the US, have declared that Gaddafi's regime is no longer legitimate and formally recognized the opposition group as the country's government. Meanwhile, a group of top Republican senators has urged the Obama administration to designate a US ambassador to TNC and give the TNCs representative in Washington and New York full diplomatic rights and privileges.
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