Libyan funds to flow ‘in a few days,’ U.S. official says

The U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee has approved a U.S. request to unfreeze $1.5 billion in Libyan assets to be used for humanitarian and civilian needs.”We felt the need was urgent; that the (National Transitional Council) had to start paying its bills and to start establishing a track record as a clean, democratic organization,” a senior administration official said.The money will start flowing “in a few days,” the official said.The money will be allocated in three equal amounts, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Up to $500 million will be transferred to international humanitarian organizations; up to $500 million will be transferred to suppliers for fuel and other goods intended for civilian use; and up to $500 million will be transferred to a temporary finanical mechanism established to assist the Libyan people’s food and other humanitarian needs.South Africa had held up the release, expressing concern that no individual body should yet be declared the sole legitimate authority in Libya.

The administration compromised by replacing references to the National Transitional Council with “relevant Libyan authorities,” the official said.”This money will go toward meeting the needs of the people of Libya,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a prepared statement. “We urge other nations to take similar measures. Many are already doing so.”She called for the National Transitional Council to move quickly toward building a democracy “that protects the universal human rights of all its citizens.”

She added, “There can be no place in the new Libya for revenge attacks and reprisals.”The U.S. military is looking at options for delivering humanitarian assistance to Libya and helping with the return of refugees. A senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the effort said there had been no requests for assistance, but the military was doing “prudent planning” to be prepared if asked.U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy of ruling out any U.S. troops on the ground remains in effect, he said, but military officials have indicated military aircraft and ships might deliver aid to airfields and ports. – CNN