sponsored by

US, allies eye post-Gadhafi Libya

Send a link to a friend

[June 09, 2011]  ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Libya's main opposition group appealed for urgent infusions of cash from foreign nations to help support the rebellion against Moammar Gadhafi and said a meeting of countries backing NATO's military mission over the country would be a "total failure" if financial assistance was not forthcoming.

As senior officials from the more than 30-member coalition met in the United Arab Emirates to prepare for the post-Gadhafi era in Libya, the finance minister of the opposition Transitional National Council lamented that the international community still did not understand the needs of the Libyan people after months of violence. He said outsiders have not matched verbal pledges of aid with enough money and urged nations to allow the council to use frozen Gadhafi regime assets as collateral for loans to help.

"Our people are dying," the finance minister Ali Tarhouni told reporters on the sidelines of the conference in Abu Dhabi. "It's been almost four months now and nothing has materialized so far. Our message to our friends is that I hope that they walk the walk."

Italy quickly responded and pledged nearly $600 million for "the day-to-day needs" of the council, encouraging other countries supporting NATO action against Gadhafi to provide similar financial support.

Maurizio Massari, a spokesman for the Italian Foreign Ministry, said Thursday that "timing was of the essence" and insisted that the rebels "need help now."

The council has said it needs some $3 billion in funding to support itself for the next several months but has been appealing for diplomatic recognition and financial support with mixed results. Although a handful of nations have recognized the council as the legitimate government of Libya, the United States has not. That has delayed efforts to free up some of the more than $30 billion in Libyan assets that have been frozen in U.S. accounts. The U.S. and others have provided humanitarian aid and nonlethal military support, but Tarhouni said it was not enough.

"The fact of the matter is even our friends still don't understand our needs," he said. In addition to meeting its current operating expenses, the council has also begun planning for how it will police and provide basic services to citizens in Tripoli and areas not now under its control.

[to top of second column]

The officials meeting here on Thursday, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, are hoping to boost support for the Libyan opposition to help it plan for Gadhafi's eventual departure from the scene. The U.S. said on Wednesday that the first shipment of Libyan oil sold by the council had been delivered to an American refinery and encouraged other nations to make similar purchases to help the Libyan people.

The focus on the eventual departure of Gadhafi's despotic regime comes even as the longtime leader continues to defy intensified diplomatic, economic and military pressure to step down. NATO has stepped up airstrikes on Gadhafi targets in and around Tripoli and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday called for allies not directly involved in the operation to do more.

NATO airstrikes rattled the Libyan capital Thursday morning, with seven thunderous explosions shaking the city. Concussions from the strikes, in clusters of a few minutes apart, washed over Tripoli from its outskirts. Rebels hold swaths of eastern Libya, although fighting has since become a stalemate even with NATO support.

Preparing for Libya's next phase will require a decision on what fate -- exile, prosecution or some third option -- should befall the leader and his family, the parameters for a ceasefire between rebels and remaining Gadhafi loyalists and the creation of a viable political process that will ensure the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people, according to U.S. officials.

[Associated Press; By MATTHEW LEE]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor