US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visits Libya
By Ghanizada - Sat Dec 17 2011, 3:32 pm
Saturday, December 17, 2011 – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Tripoli Saturday to assess the progress and meet its new government. He is going to hold talks with Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib and Defence Minister Osama al-Juwali.
Panetta will meet with members of the transitional government in Tripoli, and make an emotional visit to what historians believe is the gravesite of 13 U.S. sailors killed in 1804.
His visit to Tripoli is followed by UN decision on Friday to lift sanctions on Libya’s central bank and its investments subsidiary.
In the meantime, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta emphasized for the control of the militias involved behind the overthrow of the Gadhafi and said, US will give more time to the Libyans before determining how help the fledgling government.
Before landing in Tripoli Pentagon chief Leon Panetta said that he was optimistic that the people of Libya are ultimately going to able to succeed in putting a democracy together.
Ahead of Mr. Panetta’s visit, Washington announced it had lifted sanctions the U.S. imposed in February to close funding for the Qaddafi regime. The U.S. blocked an estimated $37 billion in Libyan assets, according to an Associated Press report, and a White House statement said Friday’s action “unfreezes all government and central bank funds within U.S. jurisdiction, with limited exceptions.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement that Friday’s action would unfreeze all government and Central Bank funds within U.S. jurisdiction. Assets in the U.S. of the Gadhafi family and former Gadhafi regime members remain frozen.
The United States froze assets of the Libyan government and then-leader Moammar Gadhafi and four of his sons in February, shortly after shuttering the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and evacuating staff. The move came amid escalating violence in Libya as Gadhafi sought to crush a rebellion against his rule.
The country’s interim leaders had repeatedly appealed for the assets to be released, in order to pay the wages of public sector workers and re-build state institutions.