Diplomatic and Military Affairs

EU's Ashton visits Libya rebels

Updated: 2011-05-23 08:02

(China Daily)

Twitter Facebook Myspace Yahoo! Linkedin Mixx

 EU's Ashton visits Libya rebels

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton gestures during her visit to the court house in rebel-held city of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Sunday. Mohammed Salem / Reuters

BENGHAZI, Libya - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Sunday expressed the organization's support to the Libyan rebels in the rebel's base Benghazi, hours after NATO bombed Tripoli and Muammar Gadhafi's compound near the capital.

"I'm here today to explain and to be clear about not only the short-term support from the European Union (EU), but the breadth and depth of our support," Ashton told reporters after a short meeting with the National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil. She visited Benghazi to open a European Union mission.

"Opening an EU office is an important signal of our support for the Libyan people. It is the EU putting words into action," she said when she announced the decision 10 days ago.

Ashton said the EU will support the Libyan opposition in border management and security reform the economy, health and education.

Ashton's visit is a new boost for the rebels who have been lobbying world powers to formally recognize their interim council.

Jalil said that the opposition will abide by all conventions and international law, saying that they will mobilize all the Libyan people to reconstruct the country.

Just hours ahead of Ashton's visit NATO-led warplanes struck the Tripoli port and Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound near the capital.

"There were two raids on the port and Bab al-Aziziya", the residence of Gadhafi, which has already been targeted several times, a Libyan government official said about the NATO strikes.

An AFP journalist heard two explosions just past midnight and a fighter plane flying over Tripoli at low altitude, indicating NATO's sustained air campaign against Gadhafi forces.

International correspondents were taken to Gadhafi's residence in a government-chartered bus but unable to access the compound.

"They're expecting new raids, we don't have permission to go in," they said after speaking to guards.

On Saturday, France's foreign ministry said that Libya's rebels have freed four Frenchmen working for a private security company who were detained at a rebel checkpoint earlier this month.

The four were detained at a checkpoint in Benghazi on May 12. At the time, a rebel commander accused them of spying.



Thawing out

After a deep freeze in sales during the recession, China’s air conditioner makers are bouncing back

Cool Iron lady
Of good and evil
Build on security initiatives

European Edition


Memory lanes

Shanghai’s historic ALLEYS not just unique architecture but a way of life

Great expectations

Hong Kong-born singer songwriter rises to the top of the UK pops.

A diplomat of character

Belgian envoy draws on personal fascination to help build China ties.

Her story is history
Sino-US Dialogue
Drunk driving