"We will use competence as a basic measure, and this way we will be able to include all of Libya's regions -- you will see," Abdurrahim el-Keib said Monday at a news conference with Rice, who arrived in Tripoli earlier in the day in an unannounced visit one day before the cabinet members were to be named.
The new cabinet of high-ranking government officials -- charged with transitioning the country to a constitutional democracy with an elected government, after 32 years of autocracy that critics say made many institutions meaningless -- will be "solid, cohesive [and] capable of doing the job," Keib said.
The cabinet -- the transitional government's second but the first since ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi's capture and killing last month -- is expected to remain in place until the middle of next year, when it will be replaced by a Public National Conference and Constituent Assembly, officials said.
The PNC is expected to elect a prime minister, the assembly is expected to draft the constitution, and the PNC is expected to oversee elections for a representative government, officials said.
Rice congratulated Libyans on their transition, saying it served as inspiration to many people in the world.
She praised Libya's National Transition Council, which was initially the "political face of the revolution," for its commitment to truth and reconciliation, national unity, rule of law and respect for human rights.
Rice stressed the need for Libyans to unite for a successful future, adding Washington believed the interim government would work to ensure a successful transition.
Armed militias emerging from Libya's civil war and Libyan National Army units have pressed Keib for cabinet positions.
"The rebels need to have a place in the new Libya," Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a commander of the anti-Gadhafi forces during the civil war, told a crowd of soldiers and their families Thursday.
Belhaj is competing with militia leaders from the towns of Zintan and Misurata to become the formal head of the new army, The New York Times reported.
Zintan rebel fighters played key roles in the war, and its militia captured Gadhafi son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi Saturday. Misurata rebel forces reclaimed the city after a three-month siege and captured Gadhafi, another of his sons and his former defense minister Oct. 20.
Keib -- an American-educated electrical engineer considered moderate in his religious views -- was expected to divide the positions of defense minister, army chief of staff and head of a new police force among competing factions, the Times said.
Several National Transitional Council officials, including some from the Gadhafi regime, were also considered cabinet candidates.