US asks UN to unfreeze $1.5b Libyan assets

Updated: 2011-08-25 06:40


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UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council met behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon upon the request from the Unites States to discuss whether to unfreeze US$ 1.5 billion Libyan assets.

The United States has called a meeting and will introduce a resolution that would unfreeze roughly US$1.5 billion of Libyan assets to meet urgent humanitarian needs, according to a spokesperson of the US Mission to the United Nations in New York Wednesday.

Yet the US proposal to release a portion of Libyan assets faced opposition this week from South Africa, a non-permanent member of the council, in a UN committee on Libyan sanctions, diplomats said. Proposals in the sanctions committee, which works by consensus, require the support of all 15 council members to be approved.

South Africa has expressed reservations about the role of the United States and Europe in assisting the Libyan rebels' effort to overthrow the Gadhafi regime, diplomats said.

Council diplomats said South Africa was not the only country which voiced reservations. Russia and other countries also have reservations about unfreezing funds for the TNC.

One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that South Africa accepted unfreezing US$ 500 million of Libya assets for humanitarian aid, but the United States said it must be a 1.5 billion package.

The United States has circulated the draft resolution at the council, where the measure would require nine votes and no veto to pass. If South Africa doesn't yield, the United States could press for a vote Thursday or Friday, council diplomats said.

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