News / Africa

    Diplomats Meet in Turkey to Discuss Libya's Future

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attends a news conference with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the rebel National Transitional Council, in Benghazi, August 23, 2011
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attends a news conference with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the rebel National Transitional Council, in Benghazi, August 23, 2011
    Dorian Jones

    Istanbul, Turkey, is hosting a high-level diplomatic meeting of some 30 countries on what support can be given to Libya following the ousting of leader Moammar Gadhafi. The attending countries belong to the Libyan Contact Group and include the United States, European, western Arab and African nations, as well as Libya's rebel government, known as the National Transitional Council [NTC]. Money topped the agenda.

    The nearly 30 countries and organizations of the Libya Contact Group called for an expedited process to unfreeze the billions of dollars in Libyan assets for use by the rebels' NTC. The gathering was described as a technical meeting ahead of next week's meeting of the group in Paris. But the head of political affairs for the NTC, Fatih Baja, said concrete steps were taken to unfreeze some of the funds.

    "There are not promises, but I think something on the ground is moving. I think [we'll] get $2.5 billion by the end of the month. I think we need more, but for us it's something that will help us," said Baja.

    The Libyan assets were frozen in February by a United Nations resolution imposing tough sanctions on Gadhafi in response to his use of violence against protesters. It is estimated that around $150 billion of Libyan assets are frozen worldwide under the U.N. sanctions.  

    Addressing the Istanbul gathering, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made an appeal to all those attending to work towards unfreezing all Libyan assets.

    "We need to take action within the U.N. Security Council to institute the legal framework for the alleviation of the NTC urgent financial needs.  Especially finding a solution to the usage to the frozen Libyan assets by the NTC is of critical importance," said Davutoglu.

    It remains unclear whether U.N. permanent members Russia and China would support ending the freezing of the funds. Releasing the frozen assets is proving to be a legally complex affair. South Africa's opposition has further complicated matters. But Libyan ambassador to the UAE and NTC member Aref Ali Nayed said they urgently need $5 billion.

    "We need urgent medical supply. We need food supply. We [need] medicine. We need spare parts to repair infrastructure. We need communication gear to keep in touch with all the local councils, and to make sure policing happens properly between all local communities.  So there is a lot of need," said Nayed.

    The head of the NTC, Mahmoud Jibril, said Thursday the release of the funds is crucial to stabilizing Libya. He made the comment during a visit to Italy Thursday, where he received a pledge that $500 million held in Italian banks would be unfrozen.  

    The United States introduced a draft resolution late Wednesday proposing the release of up to $500 million for international humanitarian organizations and to help fund a U.N. humanitarian appeal. Another $500 million would be used for the purchase of amenities. A vote is expected Thursday or Friday. But Turkish international relations expert Soli Ozel said consideration should be given to how the money is distributed.

    "How the money goes to the new regime is more important than the fact that money is going to the regime. You are talking about a country that has no government [and] no institutions, and the rebels, for all the good they have done, are not necessarily known for [their] principles on governance and diligence and stuff. Therefore, it's important to do this with institution building," said Ozel.

    The Istanbul meeting also covered the reconstruction of institutions.  But observers warn that will take time.  The message from the NTC is that time is not what the country has.


    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora