US transfers Libyan embassy to rebels

The United States said Wednesday it has transferred the Libyan embassy in Washington to the National Transitional Council, which Washington has recognized as Libya`s de facto government.

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2011, 11:17 AM IST

Washington: The United States said Wednesday it has transferred the Libyan embassy in Washington to the National Transitional Council, which Washington has recognized as Libya`s de facto government.

"It is true," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters when asked whether the United States had handed the embassy over to the rebel NTC.

Nuland`s deputy Mark Toner said the United States and NTC signed documents that transferred the embassy – which once represented Moamer Kadhafi`s regime in Washington -- to
the rebels based in the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi.

The transfer happened last week, he said.

At a meeting last month in Istanbul, the United States and other powers recognized the NTC as "the legitimate governing authority in Libya" until an interim government is
formed.

Ali Aujali, who was accredited as Libya`s ambassador, defected from the Kadhafi regime in February as violence erupted and affiliated himself with the National Transitional
Council.

It was not immediately clear whether Aujali would head the new mission. Nor was it clear whether the embassy was now staffed with the NTC as calls made by AFP to the building went
unanswered.

The United States announced on March 10 that it was shutting down the Libyan embassy here, weeks after it withdrew its diplomats from the US embassy in Tripoli as Kadhafi`s
forces used violence against a pro-democracy uprising.

PTI