Libyan rebels legitimate governing authority: US

Washington, July 15 (IANS) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Friday said America will recognise the rebel organisation in Libya "as the legitimate governing authority", CNN reported.

Clinton made the announcement in Istanbul at a meeting of the Libya Contact Group, the alliance of nations working to deal with the Libyan crisis.

She said the Transitional National Council (TNC) - based in Benghazi - "continues to gain legitimacy as the representative of the Libyan people" and conducts "high-level diplomacy with governments worldwide".

"So I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the US will recognise the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis."

CNN said the recognition means the opposition could have access to the Libyan regime's assets frozen by the US.

The Libyan uprising began in February and opposition forces have been fighting to oust long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi and his regime.

NATO forces have been operating under a UN resolution to protect the citizens from aggression by Gaddafi forces.

Clinton said the US "will help the TNC sustain its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of Libya, and we will look to it to remain steadfast in its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms".

"In contrast, the US views the Gaddafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya," she said.


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