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Entries in Libyan Opposition (6)

Wednesday
May252011

US Invites Libyan Opposition to Set Up Formal Diplomatic Office in D.C.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s not the formal recognition the Libyan opposition has been begging for, but during a visit to Benghazi this week, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman offered the Transitional National Council (TNC) the opportunity to establish a formal representative office in D.C. The opposition group accepted.

“This is another chance to clarify and to take our relationship and to formalize it a bit more that we have an office here in Washington,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday.

To date, the opposition has been represented by Col. Gadhafi’s former ambassador to D.C., Ali Aujali, who resigned once the uprising began. The State Department said Wednesday that its relationship with Aujali prior to this week was “informal.”

Aujali did not immediately return calls for comment.

The U.S. has been represented in Benghazi by diplomat Chris Stevens, who arrived in Eastern Libya in early April to gauge the intentions of the budding opposition.

Toner said Wednesday there are no plans yet to establish a formal American diplomatic office in the rebel stronghold.

The TNC has been pleading for the Obama administration to formally recognize them as the official representative of the Libyan people, in part because they say that would make it easier for them to claim access to Gadhafi’s frozen funds.

During a visit to Washington two weeks ago, the interim head of the TNC, Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, warned that the Libyan rebels would run out of money in about 4 to 5 weeks unless they got access to Gadhafi’s money.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr192011

UK Sending Military Advisory Team to Help Libyan Opposition

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Britain's National Security Council announced Tuesday it will expand its personnel in Libya, sending an additional military liaison advisory team to work with the opposition there.

The added team will be "drawn from experienced British military officers" and will join a U.K. diplomatic team already working with the Libyan National Transition Council in Benghazi.

"These additional personnel will enable the U.K. to build on the work already being undertaken to support and advise the NTC on how to better protect civilians," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.  "In particular they will advise the NTC on how to improve their military organisational structures, communications and logistics, including how best to distribute humanitarian aid and deliver medical assistance.

Britain said the military team will not be involved in training or providing weapons for rebel forces fighting off those loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

US Liaison to Libyan Opposition Arrives in Benghazi

US State Department(WASHINGTON) -- Chris Stevens, the Obama administration's liaison to the Libyan opposition, arrived in Benghazi Tuesday, two senior U.S. officials told ABC News.

Stevens is also joined by several members of USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team who will start developing plans to bring humanitarian assistance into eastern Libya.

While in Libya, Stevens will meet with members of the Transitional National Council in an effort to help the U.S. better understand the composition and goals of the Libyan opposition.  He’ll also discuss potential financial assistance and humanitarian aid.

“These meetings follow on the outreach efforts by the Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz and other senior officials, and represent our commitment to supporting the Libyan people in their efforts to transition to the future that they deserve,” one official said.

“He’s going to talk to the TNC leadership about the kind of civil society and political structure they are trying to build in Libya.  It is encouraging so far that they have outlined their commitment to democracy and to a very robust engagement with Libyans from across the political spectrum and this is in line with what they have consistently said were their goals… We recognize the TNC will need funds to keep it going and we are looking at ways in which we can assist,” the official added.

The U.S. has yet to formally recognize the Libyan opposition, something France, Italy, Qatar, and soon Kuwait, have done.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar302011

Obama Signs Secret Finding Authorizing Covert Ops to Aid Libyan Opposition

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Sources tell ABC News that President Obama has signed a secret presidential finding authorizing covert operations to “aid the effort” in Libya, where the U.S. is working with NATO, and for Arab partners to enforce a no-fly zone, protect civilians, and encourage Col. Moammar Gadhafi to step down from power.

The finding discusses a number of ways to help the opposition in Libya, authorizing some assistance now and setting up a legal framework for more robust activities in the future.

The finding does not direct covert operatives to provide arms to the rebels right now, though it does prepare for such a contingency and other contingencies should the president decide to go down that road in the future.

White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement Wednesday evening noting that as is "common practice for this and all Administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters."

Carney reiterated what President Obama said Tuesday, that "no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in. We’re assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar142011

US Names Chris Stevens Liaison to Libyan Opposition

PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The Obama administration’s new liaison with the Libyan opposition will be diplomat Chris Stevens, who had been the number-two official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli until it was suspended when fighting began last month, according to two U.S. officials.

Stevens attended Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meeting in Paris Monday night with representatives of the Libyan opposition, as did U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, who has also had contacts with the opposition.

President Obama told reporters Friday that his administration would appoint an official to maintain contact with the budding Libyan opposition, but officials had not revealed who it would be.

The United States has yet to follow France’s lead in officially recognizing the Libyan opposition.

Clinton told a Senate hearing last week that the United States was still trying to understand the makeup and intentions of the Libyan opposition based in the eastern city of Benghazi and led by the former justice minister.

“We are working to understand who is legitimate, who is not. But it is premature in our opinion to recognize one group or another,” Clinton said on March 2. “I think it’s important to recognize that there is a great deal of uncertainty about the motives, the opportunism if you will, of people who are claiming to be leaders right now,” she added.

U.S. officials traveling with Clinton say following her meeting Monday she had a better idea of the opposition.

A U.S. official, who would not speak for attribution, said Clinton discussed what the United States can do to help the opposition and that Clinton said the United States would do more than just provide humanitarian aid, but she did not get into specifics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar142011

Clinton To Meet With Libyan Opposition, Will Be Pressed On No-Fly Zone

Alex Wong/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to meet with representatives of the Libyan opposition Monday night in Paris, where she is attending a G8 ministerial meeting. An opposition spokeswoman tells ABC News that the representatives will press Clinton to increase support for the rebels, including imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

The United Nations Security Council met Monday and discussed whether to authorize a no-fly zone. Lebanon is drafting a resolution that could be introduced quickly to do just that. Such action, however, might force the hand of the Obama administration, which has been reluctant to impose a no-fly zone. Senior officials met at the White House Monday afternoon to discuss this and other options.

Monday’s meeting will be Clinton’s second with opposition figures. She met last Thursday with former ambassador to Washington Ali Aujali, who has thrown his support behind the budding opposition based in the eastern city of Benghazi and led by the former justice minister. Clinton brought the U.S. ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, who has been the primary contact with the opposition since the uprising began, to Paris just for this meeting.

It remains unclear if Clinton will use the opportunity to announce the Obama administration’s liaison with the opposition, as the president announced last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio