Nations pledge $1 billion for Qaddafi foes, plan for a Libya without him
Donor countries pledged more aid for Libya's opposition council, during a meeting Thursday. But earlier pledges have not been met, and opposition leaders are pushing hard for access to Libya's frozen assets.
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Libyan representatives told the conference that their extended hand was not that of a mendicant, but more that of a bank depositor simply asking to withdraw some funds.Skip to next paragraph
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“We are not begging,” Libya’s former foreign minister, Abdul Rahman Shalgam, said, noting that Libya holds $160 billion in frozen assets. Italy’s pledge of nearly $600 million would come in the form of food, fuel, and a loan to help pay Libyan salaries, he said.
In addition to Italy, France announced it would release more than $400 million in frozen Libyan assets to the TNC. Turkey, which has sought to extend its diplomatic influence in the region, announced a $100 million fund for the interim government.
France is one of the few countries to recognize the TNC as Libya’s legitimate government. The US has yet to take that step, which is one factor complicating efforts to release US-held Libyan funds.
The House last week passed a resolution rebuking Mr. Obama for failing to consult Congress on Libya. On Wednesday, two senators – Jim Webb (D) of Virginia and Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee – introduced a similar resolution calling on Obama to give Congress an explanation of the purpose and objectives of the Libya intervention.
“The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya,” the resolution reads in part. It calls for an unclassified report to provide essential information “to Congress and the American public” to evaluate US involvement in Libya.
The administration, on the other hand, is painting the Libya intervention not only as a critical initiative for resolving one country’s conflict and helping to bring about change there, but also as an example of Obama’s concept of multilateral diplomacy.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday en route to the Libya Contact Group meeting, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “More broadly, the Contact Group reflects the President and the Secretary’s model for diplomacy in the 21st century.”
She then offered a definition of that model. “It’s a flexible mechanism which allows us to build and sustain a broad coalition of like-minded states and international organizations which are united in common purpose to advance a shared agenda of peace, security and democratic reform,” she said, “and to translate that agenda into common action.”
IN PICTURES: Libya conflict