U.S., Libyan rebels in meetings

May 24, 2011 at 9:48 PM   |   Comments

BENGHAZI, Libya, May 24 (UPI) -- A U.S. envoy says Libya's rebel government will open an office in Washington, indicating the United States views it as a legitimate representative of Libya.

However, in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman stopped short of formally recognizing the rebel National Transitional Council as Libya's governing body Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

Feltman said the United States was firmly committed to working with the rebels and recognition was beside the point.

"The point is Gadhafi and Tripoli are increasingly isolated diplomatically," Feltman said. "In attacking, threatening and brutally suppressing the Libyan people, Col. Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to rule. He can't regain control of Libya. He must step down immediately, thereby allowing the Libyan people to determine their own future."

Feltman said he delivered a formal invitation to open the Washington office to the rebel leaders, which he said they had accepted.

Feltman is the highest-level U.S. official to visit eastern Libya since the rebellion began in February.

"We're not talking to Gadhafi or his people. They are not talking to us," Feltman said. "We have American diplomats posted in Benghazi dealing with the council. We have no American diplomats in Tripoli."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended Stories
Most Popular
Who is the 'Woman in Black' roaming U.S. highways?
Oklahoma shook by three earthquakes in less than 48 hours
Army receives first advanced CH-47F helicopter variant
One cop issued 80 percent of the marijuana tickets in Seattle this year
Comic-Con cosplayer sexually assaulted, beaten and left in gutter
Trending News