AU Calls for ‘Transitional Government’ in Libya

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 12:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The African Union is calling for the formation of an “inclusive transitional government” in Libya, but stopping short of joining other world powers by formally recognizing the opposition Transitional National Council .

The African Union's peace and security council announced the decision Friday following an emergency summit on Libya in Ethiopia.

Many African nations have long-standing ties with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. But western diplomats attending the AU meeting say that 20 African nations have individually recognized the TNC, whose fighters overran the Libyan capital, Tripoli, this week.

Meanwhile, TNC leader Mahmoud Jibril said the only way his group can succeed is if the international community frees all of the assets frozen during Mr. Gadhafi's reign.

He said Friday that the opposition needs the money to maintain government services and pay the salaries of civil servants.

Also, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said Friday the country wanted to see Mr. Gadhafi's assets re-distributed to Libyans. France was the first power to recognize the opposition TNC.

On Thursday, the United States said it soon will release $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets to the country's opposition-run council for urgent humanitarian aid.

The U.N. Security Council approved the funds' release after the United States and South Africa reached a deal, designating where the funds would go. Earlier, South Africa had expressed hesitation about releasing the funds, concerned they might end up in the wrong hands.

In a separate development Friday, the human rights group Amnesty International said it had uncovered evidence indicating that pro-Gadhafi forces had killed “numerous detainees” at two military camps in Tripoli this week.

The rights group said detainees who managed to escape described how government forces used live ammunition and grenades on captives. The group urged Gadhafi loyalists to stop the killings immediately.