x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Frozen Libyan funds released to World Health Organisation

The Dutch government is releasing 100 million euros (Dh528m) in frozen Libyan wealth to help buy medical supplies for the Libyan people.

The Dutch government is releasing 100 million euros (Dh528m) in frozen Libyan wealth to the World Health Organisation to buy medicine for the Libyan people.

The Netherlands is believed to be the first country to free up funds from Muammar Qaddafi in response to a direct appeal from the WHO.

"Sanctions should squeeze the regime and the population should not be the victim of this. That is precisely what is happening now: frozen money from Qaddafi will be used to save Libyan lives," said Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal in a statement.

Around 3.1 billion euros of assets were frozen by the Dutch government in March. As a civil war raged, governments around the world took action to stop the regime of Colonel Qaddafi accessing funds in foreign accounts.

The WHO is warning a shortage of medicine is putting Libyan lives at risk and has urged the release of blocked funds to help buy supplies.

A Dutch ministry spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying the decision to release the 100 million euros was taken after the UN sanctions committee gave approval. It was too early to say whether more funds would be released by the Dutch, the spokesman said, according to the newswire.

 

tarnold@thenational.ae