August 11th, 2011
07:37 PM ET

Libyan embassy in US officially opens under rebel government

By Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott

The Libyan Embassy in Washington officially re-opened Thursday under the control of the Transitional National Council, a senior State Department official and the new Libyan ambassador told CNN.

Ali Aujuli, the former Libyan ambassador to the United States, was formally accredited Thursday as the head of the Libyan mission.

"This is a message that Gadhafi can no more rule Libya," Aujali told CNN in a phone interview. "The recognition of this embassy under the leadership of the TNC is a clear message to the regime the US recognizes the council and they recognize the new Libya."

Calling the re-opening of the embassy "a great day for Libyan-American relations," Aujali said "the Libyan people appreciate this very much."

The move also allows Aujali to regain control of the embassy's frozen bank account, worth about $13 million. Aujuli said he talked with State Department officials Thursday about the Obama administration's efforts to help the TNC gain access to some $30 billion in frozen Libyan assets.

In March, the State Department ordered the embassy closed and expelled diplomats loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Aujali had resigned his post as the regime's ambassador to the United States in February and has since represented the opposition in Washington.

The United States on July 15 recognized the rebel movement based in Benghazi as Libya's rightful government.

The re-opening of the embassy comes amid internal strife in the rebel movement. The Libyan Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil has dismissed the rebels' 14-member executive board following the death of the rebel government's military commander, Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis, on July 28. But concerns have been raised that the mysterious assassination of Younis might have been carried out by feuding rebel groups.

NATO has been bombing Libya for more than four months under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians from troops loyal to Gadhafi. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli was shuttered and American personnel evacuated by sea and air in late February after the revolt erupted.

Libyan and U.S. officials held face-to-face talks in Tunisia last month, but Washington says the sole point of the meeting was to repeat its demand that Gadhafi "must go."

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Odysseus Writes

    Russian Ex.Order Aug 12 11
    The Executive Order sets out a number of restrictions taken against the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya), in accordance with Resolution 1973, and also introduces additional measures to comply with the restrictions set out in Presidential Executive Order 286 of March 9, 2011 On Measures to Fulfil UN Security Council Resolution 1970 of February 26, 2011.

    In particular, the order prohibits granting permission to Russian or foreign aircraft to use Russian Federation airspace during international flights if the aircraft in question intend to fly in Libyan airspace, are registered in Libya, belong to or are operated by Libyan individuals or legal entities, or if there is information giving grounds to believe that the aircraft will be used to deliver personnel or provide services related to military activity, including transporting armed mercenaries or weapons and related materials and equipment of any type. This ban shall not apply to aircraft flying exclusively for humanitarian purposes or making an emergency landing.

    Furthermore, the order gives military vessels the power to inspect ships in the open sea, destined for or coming from Libya, if the Russian Federation has information giving grounds to believe that the ships in question are being used to transport personnel for military-related purposes, including transport of armed mercenaries, or are carrying cargoes that include goods, the sale, transport, and supply of which have been prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 286 of March 9, 2011.

    The order also prohibits transactions involving money or financial assets belonging to Muammar Gaddafi’s close relatives, his entourage, and Libyan legal entities, and bans a number of individuals from entry to or transit through the Russian Federation.

    In accordance with Federal Law 281-FZ of December 30, 2006 OnSpecialEconomicMeasures, special economic measures are taken in cases when a particular set of circumstances requires an urgent response against actions that violate international law, or in cases of hostile action by a foreign country that poses a threat to the Russian Federation’s interests and security, and also in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. The Russian President makes the decisions on taking such measures against specific countries and (or) foreign organisations and citizens, and decides the length of time that these particular economic measures will apply.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
  2. Odysseus Writes

    one thing is certain we must guarntee democartic vote rights to civilians green flagger, I personally asked to Frattini why those people has no interest in developping their own fatherland and if there will be the chance for green flagger for a democratic peacful transition : The mininster replied that they need to be educated and it will be hard for green flagger to have votation.
    Outside the building where Frattini was conferencing Green flaggers were peacefully demonstarting ...inside the building Frattini met with Libyan rebels...
    A peacefull and democratic transition is demanded ...we must work for a constitution for libya and its citizen

    August 12, 2011 at 11:12 am | Reply
  3. what the hell??

    This don't taste, look, feel or smell right! It's just not right. But who who can stop this? No one! Remember now...this is big bad USA,

    August 12, 2011 at 7:22 am | Reply

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