International Donors Pledge Millions to Libyan Rebels

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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Libyan rebels are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from international envoys meeting in the United Arab Emirates to plan a national destiny without Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Italy — Libya's former colonial ruler — pledged nearly $600 million for Libyan rebels during the Thursday meeting. The aid would include loans and fuel products to the rebel region run by a council.

Kuwait has pledged to transfer $180 million to the rebel Transitional National Council while the Associated Press says the U.S. will increase humanitarian aid to Libyans by $26.5 million.

Earlier, the U.S. announced plans that include freeing up some of the $30 billion it froze in Libyan assets and giving that money to the opposition.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference in Abu Dhabi that Mr. Gadhafi's “days are numbered.”

Delegates from the 22-nation Libya Contact Group, U.N., Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council are discussing issues that include providing aid to the Libyan opposition and civilians.

It is the third meeting of the group.

Meanwhile, NATO airstrikes rattled the Libyan capital late Wednesday and Thursday.

The alliance carried out more strikes near Mr. Gadhafi's residence. A Libyan government spokesman said NATO dropped more than 60 bombs on Tripoli throughout the day on Wednesday, killing 31 people and injuring dozens.

As the strikes take place in the capital, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is meeting with opposition leaders in the rebel stronghold, Benghazi. He told journalists on Thursday that the sooner Mr. Gadhafi leaves, the better.

Separately, a Libyan government spokesman denied accusations that Mr. Gadhafi's regime has committed human rights violations.

Diplomat Mustafa Shaban commented on Thursday, a day after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said investigators have evidence that Mr. Gadhafi ordered mass rapes of women considered disloyal to his regime.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said his team is looking into whether the Libyan leader provided soldiers with Viagra-like medicines in order to promote the rape of women. He said he may present new charges of mass rape against Mr. Gadhafi.