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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid