News / Africa

Italy to Unfreeze $505 Million in Libyan Assets

Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, right, shakes hand with Mahmoud Jibril, deputy chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council, at the prefecture building in Milan, Italy, August 25, 2011
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, right, shakes hand with Mahmoud Jibril, deputy chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council, at the prefecture building in Milan, Italy, August 25, 2011
Sabina Castelfranco

Italian banks are to unfreeze Libyan assets worth more than $500 million.  The announcement came during a visit to Italy by Libyan rebel representative Mahmoud Jibril.

'First payment'

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Italy is preparing to release $505 million in frozen Libyan assets in Italian banks, calling it the first payment.

He made the announcement after meeting in Milan with Mahmoud Jibril, a leader of Libya’s rebel council.

Jibril was on the second stop on a European diplomatic tour, after meeting French leaders in Paris.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, greets the head of Libya's opposition government Mahmoud Jibril at the Elysee Palace in Paris, August 24, 2011.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, greets the head of Libya's opposition government Mahmoud Jibril at the Elysee Palace in Paris, August 24, 2011.

His mission is aimed at securing the release of billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets. Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler and biggest trading partner, has not disclosed the total Libyan assets held there.

Urgent need

The Libyan opposition says it urgently needs at least $5 billion of frozen assets to pay state salaries, maintain vital services and repair critical oil facilities.

Jibril said international financial assistance is needed to avoid destabilization in Libya.  

“Despite the situation in my country, I should be there inside the country, but because of the grave consequences if we don’t receive urgent assistance - the destabilization inside Tripoli and other parts of the country will be really beyond control,” said Jibril

Security at risk

He warned that stability and security will be at risk if salaries, unpaid for four months, aren’t delivered.

Jibril also spoke of other urgent priorities. He said these include collecting weapons, rebuilding a justice system and national army, providing care to the wounded in Libya and abroad, and rebuilding power stations.

Berlusconi repeated Italy’s position that the next Libyan government include all elements of civil society, and that the transitional council will not permit acts of revenge against those who remained loyal to Gadhafi.

The meeting between Jibril and the Italian prime minister began just moments after the release in Libya of four Italian journalists taken at gunpoint in a raid Wednesday morning.  Berlusconi said he considered it a good omen for the future.

Oil

Jibril also met with Italian oil giant ENI’s chief executive Paolo Scaroni, who is planning to travel to Libya next week to sign an agreement with the Libyan transitional council to supply gasoline for vehicles and natural gas to make electricity to meet immediate needs.

A Libyan worker chats with two rebels in a vehicle as they patrol an oil refinery controlled by anti Gadhafi forces on the western outskirt of Zawiya city, Libya, August 19, 2011
A Libyan worker chats with two rebels in a vehicle as they patrol an oil refinery controlled by anti Gadhafi forces on the western outskirt of Zawiya city, Libya, August 19, 2011

ENI is the largest foreign energy producer in Libya. Scaroni said the company would first re-launch natural gas production, adding that it is likely to take six to eight months for oil production to resume at normal levels.

ENI has already dispatched technicians to Benghazi to prepare to restart oil and natural gas production. ENI derives 13 percent of its revenues and 15 percent of its production from Libya. Before the conflict, ENI pumped about 280,000 barrels of natural gas and oil a day.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid