The European Union says it will open an office in the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi. However, this is not a sign of recognition for the rebel administration. The aim is to help with security and getting aid to where it is needed. The office will also assist with health and education. The EU foreign policy chief was clear as she outlined the reasons. Speaking to Euro MPs Catherine Ashton said:
“I intend to open an office in Benghazi so that we can move forward on the support we’ve discussed to the people, support civil society, to support the Interim Transitional National Council and Mr Jabril, many meetings that we’ve had with him, to support security sector reform, to build on what the people asked us that they wanted.”
Though the EU has not officially recognised the rebel administration, known as the Transitional National Council, France and Italy have.
The TNC, which is based in the eastern city of Benghazi, was formed in February and in March, declared itself the sole representative of the whole of Libya. The TNC says going forward it could need more than two billion euros for military and medical supplies. The interim government has already received its first shipment of humanitarian aid from the USA.