Libya’s TNC On Solid Ground

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Diplomatically speaking, the rebel-backed Transitional National Council in Libya has made tremendous progress, a U.S. special representative said.

At a July contact group meeting in Istanbul, members of the NATO-led military effort in Libya said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had lost his legitimacy to lead the country.

London and other European governments have fallen in step behind the TNC, with London saying the rebel-backed leadership was the sole governmental authority in Libya.

Chris Stevens, the U.S. representative to the TNC, told reporters that despite a lengthy military stalemate in Libya, things were moving forward on other fronts.

“Diplomatically, they’ve made tremendous progress since April gaining international recognition now from about 30 countries, including, significantly, our own,” he said. “This helps them in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of their own people, in the eyes of the Libyan people who are still under Gadhafi’s rule and it also helps them in the sense that it increases the pressure on Gadhafi.”

A leader in the rebel government in Benghazi said rival factions were responsible for killing a key TNC leader last week, raising concerns opposition forces in Libya were showing signs of division.

State Department officials, however, said that while the situation in Libya was fluid, support for the TNC was on solid ground.

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