US to Release $1.5 Billion of Frozen Libyan Assets

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 4:10 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The United States soon will release $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets to the country's opposition-run council for urgent humanitarian aid.

The United Nations Security Council approved the funds' release Thursday after the United States and South Africa reached a deal, designating where the funds would go. Earlier, South Africa had expressed hesitation about releasing the funds, concerned they may end up in the wrong hands.

Instead of asking that the funds be released specifically to the opposition's Transitional National Council, Washington changed the authorization to say they will be designated for the “relevant authorities” in Libya. However, U.S. officials say the money still should reach the TNC in a matter of days.

South African diplomats said they felt the original language implied recognition of the TNC prematurely. They said they wanted to consult with the African Union first, which has yet to declare in favor of the Libyan rebels.

However, many in the international community — including the Arab League — have recognized the TNC as Libya's new representative on the world stage.