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U.S. Turns Up Pressure In Libya

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And NPR's Peter Kenyon sent this report from Istanbul.

PETER KENYON: That changed today when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rose to address the Libya Contact Group, meeting here on the banks of the Bosphorus. She repeated her remarks for reporters a short while later, saying the U.S. was impressed by the steps the TNC had taken to show how it might govern a post-Gadhafi Libya.

HILLARY CLINTON: The United States is impressed by the progress the TNC has made in laying the groundwork for a successful transition, to a unified democratic Libya. That is why I announced earlier that until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis.

KENYON: Clinton said the council's assurances that it would allocate resources for the good of all Libyans and include a broad sampling of groups in its governing structure, eased U.S. concerns about who or what might step into any Libyan power vacuum. She acknowledged, however, that good intentions may not be enough.

CLINTON: We are well aware of how difficult and challenging the road ahead of them is. We can watch what's happening in their neighbors, which had strong institutions; and how difficult it is to move from one kind of regime to a democracy.

KENYON: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu alluded to those problems in his opening remarks to the group.

AHMET DAVUTOGLU: The humanitarian situation on the ground continues to be a cause for grave concern. Thousands of people have been stranded; many of them are in need of basic amenities. With the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, these grievances might worsen.

KENYON: Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe confirmed that Ramadan would not bring a halt to the NATO airstrikes that have damaged a good deal of the Gadhafi regime's military capacity and led to Libyan charges of widespread civilian casualties - which NATO denies.

ALAIN JUPPE: According to several Arab countries participating in the Contact Group, there is no contradiction between the religious rules during the Ramadan period and the continuation of our military intervention.

KENYON: Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Istanbul. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.