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Nations set to unfreeze Libya funds for rebels

The US will soon release an initial US$1.5billion (Dh3.6bn) in frozen Libyan assets to the rebel government, its ambassador to the UAE says.

DUBAI // The US will soon release an initial US$1.5billion (Dh3.6bn) in frozen Libyan assets to the rebel government, its ambassador to the UAE says.

A release of an as yet unknown amount of Libyan dinars by the UK was also imminent, Aref Ali Nayed, who also serves as the chief executive of the opposition's stabilisation team, said yesterday.

"The legal work is being completed to that end," Dr Nayed said. "This will be very helpful for the first injection to get us off the ground because it is very difficult now financially."

Several nations had pledged in the six-month revolution to transfer billions of dollars in frozen assets from the regime of Col Muammar Qaddafi to the opposition, but have yet to do so due to UN sanctions and legal issues.

The rebel leadership has repeatedly pressed for the funds to pay for food, fuel and other supplies. It hopes to receive full recognition by the UN at a meeting of its General Assembly next month, and thus the right to access the funds.

Dr Nayed played down confusion over Col Qaddafi's son Saif Al Islam, who rebels had said was arrested but who later met journalists, casting doubt on the reliability of the rebels' information.

"Maybe there are mistakes but never has it been intended," he said.

chuang@thenational.ae

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