US Sending Disaster Relief Teams into E. Libya, Preparing to Send Diplomats to Benghazi

By Kristina

Mar 10, 2011 5:45pm

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report:

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon today announced that the US would “soon be sending disaster assistance relief teams into eastern Libya.”

Donilon emphasized that “these are humanitarian-assistance teams. They are not going in in any way, shape or form as military operations. They go in with the cooperation of the authorities who are running the operations on the ground in eastern Libya, and it can in no way, shape or form be seen as military intervention.” The DART teams, he said, will not be “going in with military or security personnel” but will be doing so “with the permission and the cooperation of the local entities now who are in de facto control of areas in eastern Libya.”

To that end, Donilon said the US is “prepared to send diplomats to Benghazi to engage the opposition inside Libya. This will be helpful to our understanding of the situation on the ground and allow us to facilitate humanitarian assistance.”

The National Security Adviser said that his “rough estimate is that half the population of Libya are no longer under regime control, but rather under the control of areas where the opposition is providing governance.” He called Moammar Gadhafi “isolated.”

-Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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