(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aide for Mideast and North African affairs has arrived in Benghazi, Libya, making him the most senior U.S. official to visit the eastern half of the country since the uprising began earlier this year.
The Obama administration has yet to recognize the Libyan opposition, but Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will meet with its senior leadership while he’s there.
“Feltman's visit to Benghazi is another signal of U.S. support for the [Transitional National Council] as a credible and legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people,” the State Department said, announcing Feltman’s arrival.
Two weeks ago the TNC’s leader visited Washington, where he asked the U.S. to offer formal recognition which, they say, would help them access some of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s frozen assets – funds they say are needed so they don’t run out of cash in a few weeks.
For the past month, the U.S. has been represented by its liaison to the opposition Chris Stevens.
Feltman is expected to remain in Libya through Tuesday.
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