Libya Contact Group Discusses Funding for Rebels

Published on Thursday 9th June 2011

Representatives from nations backing military action in Libya began talks in Abu Dhabi Thursday to discuss ways to help the country’s opposition. A number of issues were said to be on the table including implementing resolutions that allow air strikes on Moammar Gadhafi’s ground forces and restrict members of the defiant leader’s regime from travelling. Speaking ahead of Thursday’s talks, Spain’s Foreign Minister, Trinidad Jimenez said issues of funding were still key. "We want to find a financial mechanism to give the Transitional National Council a way to sustain the needs for the Libyan People." he said.Maurizio Massari, the spokesperson for Italy’s foreign minister had similar words."The priority for them [TNC] is to secure this financial help in order to satisfy the immediate needs of the population and for the functioning of the TNC and the provisional government. They set up this government and need to pay salaries and get by with daily life. They need this money now," he said.Massari said the funds raised for the TNC are not intended to be spent on weapons, but he failed to explain what mechanisms, if any, have been put in place to prevent this. Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama said NATO’s mission in Libya was forging “inexorable” advances that meant it was only a matter of time before Colonel Gadhafi’s exit.On Wednesday, NATO vowed to keep up an intensified air campaign.The same day, government forces in Libya carried out a heavy assault on the rebel-held city of Misrata.It’s the third meeting of the so-called Libya Contact Group.At the last summit in Rome, officials agreed to set up a temporary fund to assist the National Transitional Council [TNC], the political body formed to represent Libya’s opposition rebels.



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