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Clinton: U.S. suspending relationships with Libyan Embassy

By Jill Dougherty, CNN
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement appears to stop short of saying the U.S. is officially cutting ties to Libya.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement appears to stop short of saying the U.S. is officially cutting ties to Libya.
  • Secretary of state: Embassy staff should "end operating as the embassy of Libya"
  • Ambassador has gone over to opposition
  • Administration official says embassy "must shut down"

Read a day-by-day account of the battle for control of key areas of Libya at
.html. And for the latest on what's next for Libya, the opposition and Moammar Gadhafi, tune in to "AC360" at 10 p.m. ET Thursday on CNN.

Washington (CNN) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testifying Thursday before the House Appropriations Committee, said, "We are suspending our relationships with the existing Libyan embassy, so we expect them to end operating as the embassy of Libya."

A senior administration official, speaking on background because he was not authorized to speak on the record, told CNN, "This is recognition that Gadhafi is no longer the legitimate leader of Libya and therefore his representatives should leave."

The official says this means that "the Libyan embassy must shut down."

Clinton's statement appears to stop short of saying officially that the U.S. is severing diplomatic relations with Libya.

Clinton: Libya will be held accountable

The existing Libyan ambassador, Ali Aujali, has gone over to the opposition. The Libyan government said Aujali no longer represents Libya and named the charge d'affaires as ambassador. The United States, however, has refused to recognize the newly-named ambassador.

Clinton warned against unilateral action against Libya, warning it would have "unforeseeable consequences."

But Clinton acknowledged there is ambivalence in the world community about intervention.

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