February 27, 2011 / 3:34 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Libya rebels form council, oppose foreign intervention

 * Council not a government but the "face" of revolution
 * Clinton: U.S. reaching out to opposition in eastern Libya
 * Gaddafi controls Tripoli, losing control in other areas
 (Updates spokesman's quotes, Clinton's comments)
 By Mohammed Abbas
 BENGHAZI, Libya, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Rebels in eastern Libya
said on Sunday they had formed a national council, pledging to
help free areas of the country still under Muammar Gaddafi's
rule and describing the council as the face of the revolution.
 Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the new National Libyan Council
that was launched in the eastern city of Benghazi, said the
council was not an interim government, was not contacting
foreign governments and did not want them to intervene.
 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United
States was "reaching out" to opposition groups in the east.
 Libya has tipped into a political vacuum since an uprising
against Gaddafi's rule erupted on Feb. 17. In places such as
Benghazi that have ejected Gaddafi's loyalists, citizens have
set up committees to act as a local authority and run services.
 Gaddafi and his loyalists still control Tripoli, but their
grip beyond the capital has been shrinking and all of eastern
Libya and some areas closer to Tripoli are in rebel hands.
 "The main aim of the national council is to have a political
face ... for the revolution," Ghoga told a news conference after
the Benghazi gathering to announce the council's formation.
 But he said the council was not an interim government.
 "We will help liberate other Libyan cities, in particular
Tripoli through our national army, our armed forces, of which
part have announced their support for the people," Ghoga said,
but he did not give details about how the council would help.
 In Washington, Clinton said the United States was reaching
out to Libyans in the east and further west as the revolt moved
across the country. "It is too soon to see how this is going to
play out," she added.
 She was speaking to reporters before leaving for Geneva to
consult with allies on Libya's crisis.
 Although not a direct response to Clinton's remarks, Ghoga
said: "We are completely against foreign intervention. The rest
of Libya will be liberated by the people ... and Gaddafi's
security forces will be eliminated by the people of Libya."
 Ghoga dismissed an initiative by former Justice Minister
Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil to set up an interim government,
describing the move as his "personal view".
 The online edition of the Libya's Quryna newspaper had said
on Saturday that Ajleil had led the formation of an interim
administration based in Benghazi, a step that Libya's dissident
envoy to the United States supported.
 Ghoga said the membership of the National Libyan Council and
its workings was still being worked out.
 "It is premature to talk about elections. We still have a
capital under siege," he said.
 The spokesman dismissed talk of negotiating with Gaddafi,
saying: "In my view ... there is no room for negotiation."
 He insisted that the council was seeking to keep the country
united. "There is no such thing as a divided Libya," he said.
 (Writing by Edmund Blair in Cairo; Editing by Caroline Drees)

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