Senior U.S. diplomat meets Libya rebels in Benghazi

Reuters News
Posted: May 23, 2011 9:08 AM
Senior U.S. diplomat meets Libya rebels in Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The most senior U.S. diplomat to visit Libya since the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began in February arrived in the eastern city of Benghazi Monday for talks with leaders of the rebellion.

Jeffrey Feltman, Washington's assistant secretary of state for the Near East, met members of the National Transitional Council formed to administer the eastern regions under rebel control, council spokesman Jalal el-Galal said.

The United States, Gaddafi's arch-foe for decades, took a leading role along with France and Britain in securing a United Nations-backed no-fly zone that was imposed on Libya in March and has helped the rebels with aid and offers of loans.

U.S. President Barack Obama last week called their national council "legitimate and credible" and said it was inevitable that Gaddafi would leave power.

(Reporting by Sherine El Madany; Writing by Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Michel Rose)