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Clinton In Libya To Offer New Aid

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made an unannounced visit to Tripoli aimed at forging stronger ties with Libya's new authorities.

Clinton is the most senior U.S. official to visit Libya since the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi began in February.

Clinton offered increased support for Libya's new leaders, pledging millions of dollars in aid, including an additional $40 million in aid for "helping Libya secure and destroy dangerous stockpiles of weapons."

Besides assisting the effort to track down and destroy Qaddafi-era weaponry, U.S. officials had earlier indicated that Clinton would also introduce a set of new programs designed to foster stronger U.S.-Libyan ties, including U.S. help for treating fighters wounded in the uprising and student exchange programs.

Clinton's visit on October 18 comes as Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) seeks to crush the last pockets of resistance by Qaddafi loyalists in the desert town of Bani Walid and in Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown.

NTC forces commanders said on October 17 that they captured most of Bani Walid and, on October 18, they launched another major assault on Sirte.

Also on October 18, German oil and gas producer Wintershall said it has resumed oil production in Libya following an eight-month suspension due to the fighting.

compiled from agency reports

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