Clinton pledges millions more in surprise visit to Tripoli

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The US increased support for Libya's new leaders yesterday as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to Tripoli and pledged millions of dollars in extra aid. "I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya," Ms Clinton proclaimed amid talks with the Transitional National Council, the Prime Minister, Mahmoud Jibril, and the interim leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

"The United States was proud to stand for you in your fight for freedom and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey," said Ms Clinton. "This is Libya's moment. This is Libya's victory and the future belongs to you," she added. Ms Clinton also said that "women have sacrificed" and should be full partners in the evolving Libyan society.

US officials said the fresh aid that Ms Clinton brought to Libya will boost Washington's contribution since the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began in February to $135m (£86m).

"Now the hard part begins," Ms Clinton said, in a reference to the country's transition to democracy.

Officials said Ms Clinton would also raise the case of the Lockerbie bombing with Libyan officials. Last month, Scotland asked Libya's new authorities to help track down those responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

The only person charged with the bombing – the former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – was freed on compassionate grounds in 2009 because of illness. His release infuriated the families of many Lockerbie victims.