9 Jun 2011

Libya rebels’ funding boost from allies

Western and Arab countries pledge more than $1.1bn in funding for Libya’s Transitional National Council at a meeting of the Contact Group on Libya in Abu Dhabi.

Representatives of the Contact Group on Libya meet in Abu Dhabi (Reuters)

Italy said it would give $586m to anti-Gaddafi rebels via a newly created financial mechanism, while French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, said France would donate more than $420m to the TNC.

The Arab state of Kuwait is to give $180m to the anti-Gaddafi rebels.

Meanwhile, Turkey says it has established a $100m fund to support the Transitional National Council.

“There is a real need for humanitarian access as well as for the natural needs of Libya, like schools, hospitals and off those facilities,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the meeting Washington would boost its humanitarian aid to all Libyans by $26.5m.

Ms Clinton also told the Abu Dhabi meeting talks were underway with people close to President Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, and there was “the potential” for a transition of power in the country.

“There have been numerous and continuing discussions by people close to Gaddafi, and we are aware that those discussions include, among other matters, the potential for a transition,” the US Secretary of State told a news conference.

Also in Abu Dhabi, British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt hinted that Britain could escalate its operations in Libya.

“The pressure will continue within the constraints of the coalition forces. This will continue and intensify,” he told Reuters.

The contact group met on the same day that the International Criminal Court said it had evidence that Colonel Gaddafi had authorised the use of rape as a new tactic of repression.