US confirms contact with Libyan rebels
As the United States begins handing over command of the military operations against Libya to NATO, it said on Friday that arming the rebels - anti-Gaddafi forces - was among the many kinds of assistance under consideration.world Updated: Mar 26, 2011 23:50 IST
As the United States begins handing over command of the military operations against Libya to NATO, it said on Friday that arming the rebels - anti-Gaddafi forces - was among the many kinds of assistance under consideration.
"We're having the full gamut of potential assistance that we might offer, both on the non-lethal and the lethal side, is a subject of discussion within the US government," said US ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz.
The US has been in touch with the Libyan rebels from the start of the unrest, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton met Mahmoud Jabril, a leading rebel figure, in Paris recently.
Cretz on Friday confirmed US contacts with them.
Unlike the French, however, the US has not yet recognised the Benghazi-based rebel Transitional National Council as the government.
At a state department news briefing, Cretz cited international legal complications for not doing so. But the US was fully engaged with the rebels, he said.
Rebels take Ajdabiya
Libyan rebels on Saturday moved into the strategic town of Ajdabiya, after a barrage of Western air strikes ousted Muammer Gaddafi's forces there, AFP reporters said.
The rebels powered into the town, leaving a trail of destroyed tanks and military vehicles along the road, in many cases the skeletons sitting next to huge craters left behind by powerful aerial strikes a day earlier.