UN nod for USD 1.6 billion emergency aid for Libya

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United Nations
United Nations, Aug 31: UN Security Council has allowed Britain to release about $1.6 billion in seized assets to Libya for emergency aid, as the chief of the world body underlined that the humanitarian situation in the war-torn country demands "urgent action."

"Further action will be needed in the coming days. I appeal to the Council to continue to be responsive to the requests of the transitional authority in Libya for funding," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a briefing to the Council on Libya here.

"The humanitarian situation in Libya demands urgent action," he said, adding it was "vitally important" that the Security Council Sanctions Committee allow release of the $1.5 billion for humanitarian assistance.

The release of funds came after China and Russia lifted their holds on the funds.

China's Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong told reporters that Beijing supports release of funds but it should be assured that the "money is spent wisely" and for "benefit of the people of Libya." The money held in Britain is 200 million banknotes valued at 1.86 billion Libyan dinar or about USD 1.6 billion.

The British Foreign Ministry said in a statement that 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".

Ban told the powerful Council that the first allocation totalling USD 110 million has already been made. Last week, the UN permitted the US to send about USD 1.5 billion in seized assets to Libya.

PTI

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