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TNC Is Legitimate Representative of Libyan People, Clinton Says

TNC Is Legitimate Representative of Libyan People, Clinton Says

09 June 2011
Hillary Rodham Clinton announced $26.5 million in U.S. humanitarian aid for people affected by the conflict in Libya, bringing its total assistance to nearly $81 million.

Hillary Rodham Clinton announced $26.5 million in U.S. humanitarian aid for people affected by the conflict in Libya, bringing its total assistance to nearly $81 million.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States recognizes Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC) as “the legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people,” and is offering its support to the group to help ensure “an inclusive process” when Libya transitions from Muammar Qadhafi’s regime.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi June 9, Clinton said the TNC “is the institution through which we are engaging the Libyan people alongside our work with civil society,” and that the United States wants to see “Libyans coming together to plan their own future and a permanent inclusive constitutional system that will protect the rights of all Libyans.”

The secretary’s remarks came after meetings of the Libya Contact Group, a coalition of Arab and non-Arab representatives that is leading international efforts to support the political transition in Libya. She also met with TNC Executive Bureau Chairman Mahmoud Jibril.

Clinton told reporters there have been “numerous and continuing discussions” between U.S. officials and “people close to Qadhafi,” and the topics include “the potential for a transition,” but she said “there is not any clear way forward yet.”

She announced earlier in the day that the United States is giving $26.5 million in new humanitarian assistance for people who have been affected by the conflict between Qadhafi’s security forces and the Libyan people. The new funding brings the total amount of U.S. humanitarian assistance to nearly $81 million.

Clinton also welcomed nearly $300 million in TNC financial assistance from Kuwait and Qatar through a newly established temporary financial mechanism, and said all of the contact group members are “working to put the TNC on firmer financial footing.”

She said the Obama administration is continuing to provide nonlethal assistance to the TNC and the United States is allowing American companies to buy oil from the council. President Obama has asked the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that will authorize the use of Libyan assets that were frozen under U.S. sanctions.

Clinton said a group of U.S. senators have agreed on a framework that would allow the frozen assets to be used for humanitarian aid in Libya.

U.S. officials “are doing all we can” to help the TNC better organize itself and build governing institutions. Clinton said there have been “very open conversations” between them and TNC representatives. “They know and we know there’s a long road ahead,” she said.

The Obama administration and others in the contact group hope to “help them to improve their capacity to serve as the transition leader of Libya.”

“What we seek are open, fair, legitimate elections ... that will determine what the makeup of the next government of Libya will be,” Clinton said, and the TNC “is in a position to guide and lead that process.”