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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.