US moves to free up assets for Libyan opposition
UN Security Council meeting Photo By: AFP/Getty Images
August 24th, 2011
03:26 PM ET

US moves to free up assets for Libyan opposition

By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

The United States will support an effort by several members of the United Nations Security Council to override the U.N.'s sanctions committee and allow countries to free up frozen Libyan assets to speedily provide funds for the Libyan opposition's National Transitional Council.

The Obama administration has tried for days to get approval from the U.N. sanctions committee to unfreeze $1 billion to $1.5 billion worth of Libyan assets, but a diplomat told CNN privately that South Africa has been blocking that move. Gadhafi funded South Africa's African National Congress - now the ruling party - when it was a liberation movement fighting the white apartheid regime.

Wednesday, a senior Obama administration official, speaking on background because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, said: "If we do not have sanctions committee action today, which is the best way for this to work... we will support the effort by some other countries to get this done in the Security Council."

"This has been going on for weeks and weeks," the official said.

The Security Council is meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss a resolution to release funds for urgent humanitarian aid for Libya. Large amounts of money held by the Libyan regime in foreign bank accounts were frozen by the council in February and March. The resolution would also lift sanctions from banks and other Libyan entities.

The official refused to specifically name the country that has been blocking action in the sanctions committee, but added, "There's one country that's had a delaying tactic every day for the last four days and the Libyan people need their money."

"If there are members who are not going to support that, we're going to find another way to get the Libyans their money," the official said.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Thekisego

    I'm not sure if anyone else has been raeding the influential American Blogger Andrew Sullivan today but he has been taking a very hard line against Israel's actions. This is not the editorial page of the NY Times and it probably isn't the tippimg point to a more evenhanded U.S. policy but it is good to see the formerly pro-Israel Sullivan horrified by what Israel represents today.wwww.andrewsullivan.com The suicide continues and US aid to Israel, especially military aid, should be suspended until the Israeli government starts acting like something other than a rogue state. – So 30 activists managed to beat up 30 armed commandos! Here's also a lovely linguistic touch: rioters. Rioters? These were people on their own boat in international waters, resisting a military attack. That makes them rioters? In that word alone, you get a glimpse into the Israeli mindset. And remember that it is not Gaza that is besieged; it's Israel. Try repeating that to yourself as long as it takes for you to become a columnist for the Washington Post. It staggers me to read defenses of what the Israelis have done. They attacked a civilian flotilla in international waters breaking no law. When they met fierce if asymmetric resistance, they opened fire. And we are now being asked to regard the Israelis as the victims.Seriously. This is like a mini-Gaza all over again. The Israelis don't seem to grasp that Western militaries don't get to murder large numbers of civilians because they don't like them, or because they could, on a far tinier scale, hurt Israelis. And you sure don't have a right to kill them because they resist having their ship commandeered, in international waters. The Israelis seem to be making decisions as if they can get away with anything. It's time the US reminded them in ways they cannot mistake that they cannot.

    March 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply

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