- Title: LIBYA: U.S. ambassador returns, raising the U.S. flag over a re-opened embassy
- Date: 23rd September 2011
- Summary: U.S. EMBASSY GROUNDS MAN INTRODUCING U.S. AMBASSADOR GENE CRETZ AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA, GENE CRETZ, SAYING: "Your actions and success to overthrow the chains of dictatorship and repression and establish a system that provides freedoms and rights for all citizens is an inspiration to people around the world." AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENE CRETZ, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA, SAYING: "We urge the international community at every level to recognise that (Muammar) Gaddafi had lost all legitimacy and must step down. We provided over 85 million U.S. dollars worth of assistance including humanitarian aid, uniforms and non-lethal military equipment and de-mining and civil society programmes." AUDIENCE LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENE CRETZ, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA, SAYING: "You know, there are - there still is some stubborn resistance as you mentioned in the Bani Walid and perhaps in Sirte as well but look, I think it's a question of time as well before (Muammar) Gaddafi and his remaining loyalists are, you know, their resistance is finished off. I'm one of the optimistic ones." JOURNALISTS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENE CRETZ, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA, SAYING: "I think if you recall at the end of November last year, several Wikileaks disclosures of alleged cables from the American embassies around the world including ones from embassy Tripoli emerged. There was a very, very negative, visceral reaction here and in effect I was physically threatened and because of that we made the decision in Washington that it was time for me to leave immediately." SECURITY CRETZ AT PODIUM, SHAKING HANDS WITH MEDIA
- Embargoed: 8th October 2011 13:00
- Location: Libya
- Country: Libya
- Reuters ID: LVA575VPRW4UFDMG5FA66VPFWQ8E
- Story Text: The U.S. ambassador returned to work in Libya on Thursday (September 22), raising the U.S. flag over a re-opened embassy, a month after Muammar Gaddafi was driven from power with the help of a NATO-led bombing campaign.
Gene Cretz pledged support for Libya's transitional government and said he expected the last Gaddafi loyalists to lay down their arms imminently.
The forces of the interim Transitional National Council (TNC) are confronting stiff resistance in the last strongholds of Gaddafi loyalists, and the provisional leadership faces questions about whether it can unify a country divided on tribal and local lines.
Seeking to bolster Libya's new leaders, President Barack Obama said this week Cretz would return to Tripoli.
The embassy building was ransacked by a mob of Gaddafi supporters before Tripoli was taken over by forces loyal to the new government.
"I think it is a matter of time before Gaddafi and his remaining loyalists, their resistance is finished," Cretz told reporters at a ceremony to mark the re-opening of the U.S. mission.
Cretz said Libyans had been outraged by Wikileaks cables about the mission in Tripli.
"In effect I was physically threatened and because of that we made the decision in Washington that it was time for me to leave immediately."
The White House felt vindicated in its approach to Libya when rebel forces took Tripoli late last month.
It had faced criticism for an initially slow response to the Libyan uprising and then set strict limits on the U.S. role in the NATO air assault, which was officially described as a means of stopping the massacre of civilians.
Obama this week met Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) when he and interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril came to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly.
The U.S. president held out promise the United States would build new partnerships with Libya, a top oil producer.
Cretz praised the NTC for its efforts to date, but said the formation of new institutions may be drawn out, as regional tensions and fraction between Islamists and those who envision a secular state come to the fore in a new Libyan politics.
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