Libya: Contact Group to fund rebels

At a meeting in Rome on May 4, the international Contact Group on Libya agreed to establish a fund that the rebels can access, ostensibly to provide services in their areas of control. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it will be “an international fund in which nations can make their contributions in a transparent way.” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration is trying to free up some of the more than $31 billion it has frozen in Libyan assets. The administration has already authorized up to $26 million in non-lethal military assistance to the rebels, and has pledged $55 million in humanitarian aid. Britain has so far provided $21 million in similar aid the rebels. Italy, which hosted the meeting, recently joined the NATO air campaign against Moammar Qaddafi’s regime. (VOA, May 5)

The meeting came a day after the Qaddafi regime sparked international outrage when its forced shelled an aid ship attempting to evacuate civilians—mostly African and Asian migrant workers—from the besieged port of Misrata. Two young African children were reportedly among the five dead. Amid the chaos about 200 people were apparently left behind when the ship sailed for Benghazi. The vessel, the Red Star 1, had been contracted by the International Organization for Migration to deliver aid to relief camps for foreign nationals in Misrata and begin evacuating them. (BBC News, WP, May 4)

See our last posts on Libya, and the regional revolutions.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.