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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid