Clinton: US will recognize top Libyan rebel group as country’s government

The United States will formally recognize the top opposition group in Libya as that nations government, a move that should give an economic and diplomatic boost to the rebels.

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The announcement that Washington sees the Transitional National Council as Libyas official government was made during an international conference in Istanbul by Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems flip New York state seat that Republicans have held for nearly four decades Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Chelsea Clinton hits back at NYT reporter over details in new book MORE, according to The Associated Press.

Council leaders have lobbied U.S., European and regional leaders to formally call their group Libyas legitimate government so tens of billions in Moammar Gadhafi funds could be funneled to the council. Those funds could then be used to boost its efforts to drive the embattled Libyan leader from power.

The AP reported that the U.S. recognition could allow Washington to transfer as much as $30 billion in Gadhafi funds.