US is moving to free up some of the $30 billion in frozen assets of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to aid the 'Libyan people' and rebels, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.
Libya’s rebels are pleading for billions of dollars in international assistance to continue fighting the Qaddafi regime and to meet humanitarian needs – and the United States hopes to tap into the $30 billion in frozen Libyan assets it holds to answer their call.
The US is moving to free up some of the frozen assets of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and his government, to “help the Libyan people,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the 22-nation Libya Contact Group meeting Thursday in Rome.
Using the frozen assets will require new legislation, but Secretary Clinton told the group the Obama administration is already working with Congress to make changes to allow Libya’s money to be used for Libyans caught in the country’s conflict.
The Italian government, as the meeting’s host, announced the creation of a temporary international fund to aid the rebel government – the Transitional National Council (TNC) – headquartered in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the fund will start out with $250 million from multiple donors – a fraction of the $3 billion minimum the rebels say they will need in coming months to fight and keep themselves and civilians under their command alive.