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U.S. recognizes rebels as Libya authority

U.S. recognizes rebels as Libya authority
Libyans protest against Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Benghazi on March 4, 2011. The U.S. has now recognized the rebel forces as Libya's legitimate government. UPI\Mohamaad Hosam | License Photo

ISTANBUL, Turkey, July 15 (UPI) -- The United States considers the Benghazi-based rebels Libya's legitimate authority, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Friday.

Clinton made the statement at a meeting of the international contact group for Libya in Istanbul, Turkey, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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GALLERY: Spotlight on the Libyan rebels

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said his government would promptly release 100 million euros ($141.4 million) in credit to the National Transitional Council from Libyan assets frozen under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said France was unfreezing $250 million in Libyan assets, and Turkey already has promised $300 million.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu opened the meeting by calling on the assembled nations "to consider opening credit lines to the National Transitional Council amounting to a certain percentage of the frozen funds."

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