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.