White House won't recognize rebels as Libya's true government

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the White House said national security adviser Tom Donilon met with Mahmoud Gibril, president of the Libyan Transitional National Council’s Executive Bureau, and his delegation as part of “close consultations” between the Obama administration and the council.

The US recognizes the council as a “legitimate and credible interlocutor of the Libyan people,” the statement said. In contrast, it added, Mr. Donilon stressed to the Libyan opposition delegation that Muammar Qaddafi has “lost his legitimacy to rule” and reiterated President Obama’s call for Colonel Qaddafi to “leave immediately.”

But the statement skirted the issue of official US recognition of the interim government, just as it made no specific mention of efforts to make available to the rebels some of the $34 billion in Libyan funds the US holds.