Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Libyan rebels find support boost at Doha summit

Doha, Qatar (CNN) -- Delegates representing Arab and African nations and NATO coalesced behind the Libyan rebels at a summit in Qatar on Wednesday, promising more humanitarian aid and money channeled through a temporary trust fund of sorts.
Delegates from Arab and African nations, as well as NATO, met at a summit in Qatar on Wednesday.
Delegates from Arab and African nations, as well as NATO,
 met at a summit in Qatar on Wednesday
Members of what is called the Libya Contact Group agreed that a temporary financial mechanism could provide a way to get money to the Libyan opposition.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said participants in the Qatari capital, Doha, were discussing the possibility of using frozen Libyan assets for the fund.

"I think this discussion about the trust fund is very interesting," he told reporters. "And we will look into it because the frozen international money belongs, if it's government money, to the people of Libya."

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council, the country's opposition body, said Wednesday night that international delegates had agreed to make the funds available.

Ghoga said more than $100 billion in regime funds would be unfrozen and made available to the opposition, though he did not say which country or countries would release the funds, or when.

He also said rebels requested that NATO intensify its airstrikes and protection of the civilian population.

The funding decision came amid a grim assessment of the humanitarian fallout from the Libyan conflict and reports of mounting civilian casualties.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the delegates that in a worst-case scenario, as many as 3.6 million strife-affected people could eventually require help, and that the money to provide that help has been slow in coming.

So far the United Nations has seen only 39% of the $310 million it requested in emergency funding, "clearly insufficient given the prospective need," Ban said.

"It is critical that the international community act in concert, that we speak with one voice, and that we continue to work in common cause on behalf of the Libyan people," he said.