Libyan Provisional Chief Holds Talks with Senior US Diplomat

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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The head of Libya's National Transitional Council is meeting Wednesday with the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the country since provisional authority forces drove Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the NTC chairman, was set to hold the talks in the capital, Tripoli, with Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

The meeting comes a day after the World Bank recognized the NTC and said it will work to assist in the country's transition.

The World Bank said in a statement Tuesday its decision is based on events in Libya and the views of its member countries. It also said it has been asked to examine the need for repairs to Libya's water, energy and transportation sectors, and to help the country's banking sector in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund.

The U.S. State Department said Tuesday Mr. Gadhafi's son, Saadi, is being detained in a state guest house in Niger, after crossing into the country earlier this week. A State Department spokeswoman said it is “appropriate” for Niger and Libya to work together on the issue, and that it is up to the NTC to decide how to proceed.

Officials in Niger say 32 people close to Mr. Gadhafi have fled to the central African nation since September 2.

Meanwhile, residents of one of Mr. Gadhafi's remaining strongholds fled Tuesday as NATO and NTC fighters continued to attack pro-Gadhafi forces. Witnesses say dozens of cars left the town of Bani Walid while NATO planes flew overhead.

NATO said Wednesday its airstrikes a day earlier struck several targets near Sirte, another Gadhafi stronghold, including anti-aircraft guns and radar systems.

Tuesday, Amnesty International issued a report saying both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes during the six-month civil war. The report mainly details crimes against civilians committed by Gadhafi loyalists, but it also documents brutal revenge crimes committed by some provisional authority forces when loyalist fighters were ejected from eastern Libya.