World Powers Pledge More Than $1B to Aid Libyan Opposition

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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International envoys have pledged more than one billion dollars to help Libya's opposition council and Libyans affected by the country's conflict.

World powers announced the series of financial measures on Thursday as they met in the United Arab Emirates to plan for a Libya without its embattled leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

Among the donors, Italy – Libya's former colonial ruler – said it will commit nearly $600 million in assistance to Libyan rebels, including loans and fuel products. France pledged more than $420 million in support. Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey also promised funds.

The United States did not offer direct aid to the rebels. But it announced an additional $26.5 million in humanitarian relief to all Libyans.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference Mr. Gadhafi's “days are numbered.” She later described the rebel Transitional National Council as the “legitimate interlocutor” of the Libyan people .

The meeting of the Libya Contact Group brought together more than 20 nations and organizations including the U.N., Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council. It was the third meeting of the group. Clinton said the contact group will hold a fourth meeting in Turkey in July.

Meanwhile, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade met with Libyan opposition leaders in the rebel stronghold, Benghazi. He told journalists on Thursday that the sooner Mr. Gadhafi leaves, the better.

NATO airstrikes rattled the Libyan capital again late Wednesday and Thursday morning.

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

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.