19 Oct 2011

Clinton in Libya

3:07 pm on 19 October 2011

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Libya for a brief visit.

She is the highest level US official to visit the country since the uprising started against the now-ousted leader, Muammer Gaddafi.

Mrs Clinton's visit is aimed at showing support for the National

Transitional Council there.

She held talks on Tuesday with NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni.

Mrs Clinton said the United States was proud to stand beside them in their fight for freedom and will continue to stand with them, respecting their sovereignty.

But she also warned against the perils of civil war, and say the various militias must be unified into a single military that represents the Libyan people.

Mrs Clinton was also due to hold a town hall meeting with women, young people and civil society leaders.

The BBC reports the visit was kept secret because of safety concerns. Heavy security measures were in place ahead of her arrival.