Countries 'start to look past Gaddafi'

2011-07-15 09:15

Istanbul - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Turkey on Friday for a Libya conference marked by growing hopes the international campaign to topple Muammar Gaddafi is nearing its goal and rebel forces can mature into a legitimate government.

Clinton will confer with leaders of the Nato-led coalition to assess the political road map for Libya's future and discuss further steps to support the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (TNC), officials said. .

"Countries are starting to look past Gaddafi. He's going to go, and the meeting can be a useful place to take stock of and prepare for that transition," one senior US officials told reporters aboard Clinton's plane before landing in Istanbul.

"That's the way we're thinking about this meeting: trying to see it as a pivot in this process."

Clinton's visit to Turkey will also focus on the crisis in neighbouring Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown on anti-government protests has fanned fears of dangerous instability in a country at the strategic heart the Middle East.

US officials said Friday's Libya meeting, the fourth such conference since March, will deepen ties with the TNC and expand its plans to become more inclusive in hopes of winning stronger diplomatic and financial support.

Libyan assets

The United States has recognised the TNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people but has yet to offer full diplomatic recognition - a step which could eventually unlock Libyan assets frozen in the United States for the cash-strapped government-in-waiting in Benghazi.

US officials say they now want more details on exactly what the TNC's strategy will be for guiding the country to democratic elections and broadening its political base beyond its strongholds in eastern Libya.

"We've already said that Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and needs to go, and almost by definition when that happens you'll be looking toward what the follow-on regime is," the US official said.

"To the degree that that effects the question of unfreezing assets will obviously be a part of the conversation as well."

Kuwait and Qatar have already transferred some $100m to the TNC and other countries have also pledged assistance, but rebel officials say they need more cash fast if they are to assume the full obligations of government.

"Straws in the wind"

The Istanbul conference comes as rebel fighters make gains against Gaddafi loyalists on the ground, supported by a nearly four-month campaign of Nato-led air strikes which the UN Security Council authorised to protect Libyan civilians.

Nato officials also say Gaddafi's emissaries are sending out feelers in hopes of a political solution, but Washington remains sceptical the long-time Libyan ruler is ready to halt the violence and step down.

"There are a lot of straws in the wind," a second US official said. "We are not persuaded yet that any of this is decisive in terms of the red lines that we have laid out."

Clinton will also meet on Saturday with Turkish leaders, in part to discuss the next steps on Syria which both Washington and Ankara have condemned for Assad's unrelenting security crackdown on unarmed anti-government protesters.

The Syrian crisis has already sent thousands of refugees across the Turkish border, and US officials say they hope Turkey will follow its tough words on Assad with action - noting that Ankara has yet to match US and European Union sanctions on Assad and other Syrian officials.

US officials hope Clinton's visit will cement gains after strains last year over Turkey's attempts to mediate between Iran and Western powers concerned about Tehran's nuclear program and Ankara's furious response to an Israeli assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed eight Turkish activists.

"Where we had differences we've confronted them and have talked it through," the US official said. "The relationship is now in a very strong place on many issues."

  • Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-15 09:39

    There is no intl. campaign to topple gaddafi other than the nato imperial terrorists. It is clear that Gaddafi has more public support than was admitted by the media at the beginning of this conflict. The Libyan contras were saying that the conflict was the people vs Gaddafi. This was at least wrong and at most propaganda.

      Bee and Jay - 2011-07-15 10:11

      If what you say is true and Gaddafi has any support from people who don't have death threats hanging over their heads, why doesn't he hold a referendum? Or he could agree to hold free and fair elections. Take it from me Gadaffi only has support from his rent-a-crowd, and that support dwindles by the day.

      Rustum X - 2011-07-15 10:11

      Well, the media is owned by the same financiers that own international industry (weapons, Oil..). The UN is being promoted as Global Government with its very own police... err Peace Keeping force, sorry. One just has to look at the SAPS to see its face on a smaller scale. There are no souvereign countries left. Just nation-sized profit farms. We have a national debt of 30% of our "GDP" to an instution which hasn't the resources of any country. If all countries with resources like ours have to lend money, where does a bunch of bankers with no money get it from? It is a show of force to the other UN members.. Mugabe tried to do a JFK and got his country flattened. AND gets the blame for it too! For anyone who needs the last reference explained, try find a recording of the speech JFK made 10 days before he was shot.

      Valis - 2011-07-15 11:32

      @Bee and Jay: Gadaffi has a standing offer out to hold free elections OVERSEEN BY THE WEST. NATO keeps turning down his offer!? Also, over two million people turned up for a rally in Tripoli in support of Gaddafi. So much for your rent-a-crowd comment :P Hitlery Clinton and the West are flat-out lying.

      Anton - 2011-07-15 19:19


      Datbrotherfromthestates - 2011-07-15 19:51

      BEE AND JAY... he doesnt have too because the rebels are AL-QAEDA! YOU ARE NOTHING but another white liar! if you are so right on this,why is Ibrahim Bin Qumu and Abdel Hakim Al-Hisadi fighting with the so called rebels? your garbage! doesnt matter what lie you tell,Zuma has already warned clinton that if they try to invade Libya,ALL of the countries in africa are you to nationalise all of their resources then kick you bigots off the continent then DEFEND GADAFFI! that doesnt bode well for you boers does it!?

      Anton - 2011-07-15 21:22

      Datlostbrother, OHHHH, NOOOOO, you are back again...... I thought you went fishing with Ibrahim and Abdel Now us white, brown and purple bigots must listen this whole weekend to your crap re al quada, pushing us in the sea, taking our cars ( that's mean, we got a sh.t public transport ! ) And off course being called; lIARS , BIG LIARS, MASIVE BIG LIARS !!!! And than to nationalize all our resources.........what the heck is than left for Malema ?? Nationalise KFC ??? I know something for you, but don't tell others, There is this guy Rustum X, he is very very smart, he knows Everything , and is soooo interesting !!! Why don't you team up with him. The two of you will make a killing !! No, no, not like Gaddafi does, but you know what I mean ! ( There are soo many racists in the USA, try to find out if your neighbour is one, and than go and him off over the weekend. ) But please please, give us here a break. If I hear once more this al quada crap, I might even join them, just to you off !!!!!!!

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:35

      Valis, you are so gullible it's incredible. Thankfully our fate is not in your hands.

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:36

      Datbrother, still against bigotry? :)

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:41

      Rustum, still no Rustoff at the hardware store?

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:48

      Kunta, what do you think about Robert Mugabe? I'd like to know. He is a victim of imperialism too?

  • YES - 2011-07-15 10:03

    Hoiw could gaddafi be weak when the Nato backed Rebels are struggling to wrest cities that East and West of Tripoli? We always read about how government forces are stilling shelling important oil city, East of Tripoli. The envisaged conference is only there to undermine resolution of the AU and stamp authority of the West over defenceless African countries. As for Middle East countries the lesser is spoken of them, the better for International Relations. Most Middle East countries are a week link to World peace and stability. Real Africans must rally behind Gaddafi and people of Libya.

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:37

      Lots of thumbs down Yes. Time to change?

  • Anton - 2011-07-15 10:05

    OK, so that was NUMBER THREE !! Which opposition to a dictator/tyrant shall we support now, to make it NUMBER FOUR !!!!!

      Martin du Plessis - 2011-07-15 14:05

      I vote for Malema

  • Mpinchi6 - 2011-07-15 10:07

    Bye Bye despot Gaddafi.

  • Ingie - 2011-07-15 10:21

    why are all these countries wasting the time and efforts on these morons

  • Charles du Toit - 2011-07-15 12:45

    I suggest we don't respond to anyone using the words 'imperialist' or 'colonalists'. Its like trying to have an intelligent conversation with a three year old.

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:45

      They're so anti-imperialism, until they come into power. Then all of a sudden they become imperialists. It's a well-worn delusional path.

  • Strategist - 2011-07-15 13:27

    @Charles du Toit Call a spade a spade. imperialists and will always be imperialists, colonialists will try to recolonise Africa and Middle East. It's clear what NATO is upto. Looting Libyan resources disguised as 'protecting civilians'. How dare they care about Libyans while so many of western citizens are reeling in debts, unemployment and poverty? The whole of USA and EU economy is crushing, yet million of dollars are spent on bombing civilians in Libya. Only a few puppets who are still mentally colonised by the west, are supporting the actions of this terrorist organisation called NATO in Libya.

      Martin du Plessis - 2011-07-15 14:05

      Well, thanks for proving his point so completely.

      Anton - 2011-07-15 16:31

      Strategist, You are soo confused !! You keep talking about the WEST this and the West that. But are you sooooo ignorant or have you been blided with your hatred, that you have lost all sense of reality?? Many African countries have now told him to get out, And many countries in the Middle East, the same, including Turkey Russia has told him to get out. Actually, mention me JUST ONE COUNTRY , who openly supports this tyrant any longer ?????? ( Thats off course excluding this loner ,Chavez ) Even the Chinese fly in and out of Benghazi. Believe the Libyan people, but this rubbish is on his way out. Dead or Alive....!!!!!!!!!!!

      slg - 2011-07-16 22:40

      You're heavily in victim mode. Gadhafi and the other remaining tyrants are the closest thing our current world has to imperialists, but you've blinded yourself to this. Turn the picture around. You're watching upside down.

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