US Diplomat in Libya's Rebel Territory for Talks

Published on Monday 23rd May 2011

The most senior U.S. diplomat to visit Libya since the uprising against leader Moammar Gadhafi began in February was in rebel territory expressing support on Monday.Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is in the rebel stronghold Benghazi for talks with leaders of the government opposition. The visit comes a day after the European Union opened a diplomatic office in Benghazi while pledging support for a democratic Libya free of Gadhafi.The EU's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, opened the office Sunday in Benghazi's heavily guarded Tibesti Hotel. She said the EU's intention was to support the people of Libya now, and "long into the future."The office connects the rebel stronghold to the 27-nation bloc and adds to the rebels' increasing international recognition. France, Italy and others have already officially recognized the rebels, while the United States has sent diplomats to the rebel east to start talks.Ashton is the most-senior foreign official to visit the rebel-held Libyan region since the start of the unrest. The conflict in Libya between rebels and forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi has been going on for months.


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