Libya: White House dashes rebel hopes of recognition
13-May-2011 (one comment)

The US has stopped short of recognising Libya's National Transitional Council as the country's legitimate government.

The statement comes after the first visit to the White House by a senior member of the rebel council, which is pushing for international support.

Earlier, Col Muammar Gaddafi taunted Nato troops in an audio message on state TV, saying he was in a place where they "cannot reach" him.

State media says 11 Muslim clerics have been killed in a Nato air strike.

Mahmoud Jibril, deputy leader of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC), met officials at the White House on Friday, including National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.

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This followed Libyan state TV's broadcast of an audio message by Col Gaddafi, pouring scorn on the alliance.

The Libyan leader thanked those outside Libya who had "expressed deep and strong concern, enthusiasm and love for me by carrying out all these contacts to enquire about my safety after hearing about the crusader, cowardly and treacherous missile attack".

"I say to the crusader cowards that I live in a place that you cannot reach and kill me in it because I live in the hearts of the millions," he added.

"Immortality is for the martyrs, and death, infamy and disgrace are for the treacherous agents and their cowardly masters."