U.S. views Libyan rebel government as 'legitimate' - security advisor

Arab World Materials 14 May 2011 07:42 (UTC +04:00)

The United States views Libya's Transitional National Council (TNC) as a legitimate interlocutor of the Libyan people, a White House advisor said at a meeting with the head of Libya's rebel government.

U.S. President Barack Obama's national security advisor, Tom Donilon, met with TNC President Mahmoud Gibril late on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

"During the meeting, Donilon stated that the United States views the TNC as a legitimate and credible interlocutor of the Libyan people," the White House said in a statement.

"In contrast, Donilon stressed that Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and reiterated President Obama's call for Gaddafi to leave immediately," the statement reads.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated at the meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the military operation in Libya will continue.

"They [Obama and Rasmussen] agreed the operation had saved countless lives and that as long as the Gaddafi regime continues to attack its own population, NATO will maintain its operations to protect civilians," the White House said.

Violence in Libya, which began in mid-February, has already claimed thousands of lives, with Gaddafi's troops maintaining their combat capabilities despite NATO airstrikes against them.