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Contact group discusses funding Libyan rebels

05-06-2011 19:04 BJT Special Report:Int'l Intervention in Libya |

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Twenty-two nations and five international organizations have met in Rome to discuss how to end the Libyan crisis. The meeting pledged to create a special fund worth millions of US dollars to help Libyan rebels.

It's the group's second meeting to help FUND the Libyan rebels who are short of cash.

Mahmoud Shamam, Libyan Rebel Spokesman, said, "We're looking for something between two to three billion dollars."

ahmoud Shamam says they need the money for military salaries, food, medicine and other basic supplies.

Mahmoud Shamam, Libyan Rebel Spokesman, said, "We need maybe something like anti-tanks, anti-armor Small things. We're not asking for weapons and aeroplanes."

The contact meeting agreed to create a Temporary Financial Mechanism, to channel funds to Libyan rebels. And it will be operational in the next few weeks.

But there has been a cautious response from Western governments, who are already grappling with their own financial problems.

Britain says it does not plan to offer direct funding beyond the aid money and non-lethal equipment.

William Hague, UK Foreign Minister, said, "By doing in this international and transparent way we can all be confident about how the money is being used and nations are able to make their contributions, confident in that knowledge."

The US has already pledged 53 million US dollars in humanitarian aid and authorized up to 25 million US dollars in non-lethal assistance to the rebels.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington would seek to pass legislation to unfreeze some of the Libyan state assets and leader Muammar Gaddafi's personal assets to help the rebels.

Only Qatar, which pledged 400-500 million US dollars, and Kuwait, which promised 180 million, have said exactly how much they will put into the Mechanism.

But the money is far short of the 2 to 3 billion dollars the rebels say they need.

The contact group meeting comes after the two-month Libya conflict has descended into a stalemate, with rebels unable to defeat Gaddafi's forces, despite NATO air strikes.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, said, "We have no intention to put boots on the ground, nor is it mandated in the UN Security Council resolution, so of course there are limitations as to what we can do."

The meeting hasn't reached an agreement on how to resolve the Libyan crisis politically. But it urges all sides to continue imposing pressure on the Libyan government.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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