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Clinton pledges more Libyan aid

The US increased support for Libya's new leaders 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," Mrs Clinton proclaimed amid talks with Transitional National Council Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and 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." Clinton also said that women have earned the right to share in the benefits of a new society.

"This is Libya's moment. This is Libya's victory and the future belongs to you," said Clinton, who added that "women have sacrificed" and should be full partners in the evolving Libyan society.

US officials said the fresh aid that Mrs Clinton brought to Libya will boost Washington's contribution since the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began in February to 135 million dollars.

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

Officials said Mrs 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 - former Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi - was freed on compassionate grounds in 2009 because of illness. His release infuriated the families of many Lockerbie victims.

Most of the new money will go toward finding and destroying thousands of Gaddafi-era shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that are unaccounted for since the fighting began.

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