Germany offers loans to Libyan opposition

24th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany said Sunday it was making available to the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) up to 100 million euros ($144 million) in loans for civilian and humanitarian purposes.

"Because of Colonel (Moamer) Kadhafi's war against his own people the situation in Libya is extremely difficult," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

"There is a lack of means to build up the necessary structures and to relieve supply shortages, all the way from medical equipment to food. People are suffering more and more as a result, particularly in eastern Libya."

Libya has been wracked by a civil war since a violent uprising against Kadhafi, in power for more than four decades, swept the country five months ago.

While a NATO bombing campaign has managed to prevent the fall of opposition-held cities such as Benghazi and Mistrata, it has not been able to dislodge Kadhafi's regime.

Westerwelle said that the new loans would be guaranteed by "Kadhafi's billions" -- assets of the Libyan leader frozen under international sanctions -- until they can be made available to the Libyan opposition.

The decision followed a meeting in Istanbul on July 16 that saw Western and regional powers boost the Libyan rebels by designating them country's legitimate rulers, a move that gives them access to vital funds.

Europe's top economic power abstained on a UN Security Council resolution -- it currently holds a non-permanent seat on the 15-member body and is chair this month -- in March authorising a Libya mission to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone.

© 2011 AFP

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