AU Weighs Recognition of Libya’s Triumphant Rebels

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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African Union representatives are meeting in Ethiopia Friday to consider whether they should recognize Libya's opposition coalition as the country's new government.

The more than 50-member bloc has declined to recognize the opposition Transitional National Council . But AU commission chairman Jean Ping said Friday that events in Libya had reached a decisive stage over the past few days. He noted that the TNC had entered Tripoli and taken control.

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

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

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 Amnesty International rights group 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 had described how government forces used live ammunition and grenades on captives. The group urged Gadhafi loyalists to immediately stop the killings.