The Obama administration on Tuesday welcomed a decision by Libya's rebels to reorganize their leadership in the aftermath of the killing of their military chief despite concerns it showed disunity in their ranks.
The State Department said the move was a sign the Transitional National Council, which the U.S. and others recognize as Libya's legitimate government, is using last month's slaying of commander Abdel-Fattah Youn as an opportunity for "reflection" and "renewal" by firing its executive committee.
"What we see is an effort by the TNC to take a hard look at itself and to make an important step forward that can reassure Libyans that in reshuffling the government, that they have a truly democratic and a truly transparent leadership group," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"So, frankly, while the killing was an awful event, the fact that the TNC has not just stood pat but has really taken this as an opportunity for internal reflection, for renewal, we are optimistic about that," she said.
Nuland added that no action on the part of the council would have been worrying.
"Rather than doing that, they are looking hard at what they have to do to ensure that there is a democratic, transparent leadership in which their people can have confidence, that the international community can have confidence in it," she said.
On Monday the rebels sacked their executive committee, which serves as a sort of government cabinet, in a move aimed at easing tensions over Younis' killing. His death shook both the rebels' leadership and its Western allies, who have heavily backed the rebels controlling most of eastern Libya.