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Libya needs aid: UN

LIBYA: Libyan rebels may not want foreign troops, but they will need outside help getting used to a democracy they have never known, according to the UN’s chief planner for life after Moamer Kadhafi.

Friday 2 September 2011, 08:16AM

Ian Martin, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has been working for months on how to revive political life in a country with virtually “no living memory of elections”.

The UN does not expect the National Transitional Council (NTC) to ask for military observers, Martin said after a UN Security Council meeting on the conflict.

“It’s very clear that the Libyans want to avoid any kind of military deployment of the UN or others,” he said.

But the United Nations could organize an international force of police trainers and monitors to help the country, which Mr Ban said recently was “awash” with weapons following the six-month uprising inspired by the Arab Spring.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday let Britain release US$1.6 billion (B48 billion) in seized assets to buy aid for Libya but despite new calls for urgent help, a bid by France and Germany to free US$8.6 billion (B258 billion) remains blocked, diplomats said.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said the release “represents another major step forward in getting necessary assistance to the Libyan people, building on the remarkable progress in recent days.

“These banknotes, which were frozen in the UK under UN sanctions, will help address urgent humanitarian needs, instill confidence in the banking sector, pay salaries of key public sector workers and free up liquidity in the economy.”

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Mr Ban said there was now a critical shortage of water in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, even though rebels are now largely in control having beaten Kadhafi’s forces.

Two ships are headed for Libya with 850 tonnes of bottled water on board, in an attempt to beat the shortage.

The United States was given approval to send about US$1.5 billion (B45 billion) in seized assets back to Libya last week, after a dispute with South Africa over whether easing UN sanctions implied recognizing the rebels who are fighting Kadhafi.

The UN leader said the first US$110 million (B3.3 billion) from the funds held in the United States had now been allocated.

He also appealed to the Security Council to give urgent consideration to requests for money by the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC).

Mr Ban, his post-conflict planner and other top officials, were due to hold talks with rebel government leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil at an international summit on Libya in Paris on September 1.


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