Cameron announces release of Libya assets on Tripoli visit
Prime Minister David Cameron said here Thursday Britain would release £600 million worth of Libyan assets as part of a series of measures aimed at supporting the new authorities in Tripoli.
On an unannounced visit to the Libyan capital with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Cameron unveiled a package of measures which also included funds for the decommissioning of weapons and landmine clearance.
The centrepiece was the decision to release an additional £600 million ($950 million, 690 million euros) of Libyan assets for the National Transitional Council (NTC) which had been frozen in Britain under UN resolutions earlier this year.
Speaking in Tripoli, Cameron said Britain hoped to release a further 12 billion pounds in frozen assets of Moamer Kadhafi's regime as soon as the UN approved a draft resolution which London and Paris are to put forward on Friday.
Billions of dollars of cash, property and other assets belonging to Kadhafi's regime in the West were blocked in February when the veteran leader began a crackdown against an ultimately successful uprising.
London said it was possible to release the £600 million after the European Union lifted an assets freeze against some Libyan entities earlier this month, according to a statement from Cameron's Downing Street office.
A spokesman for Cameron did not specify what the assets were but said they were not Libyan bank notes, $1.6 billion of which were unfrozen by London last month and sent to the cash-strapped rebel leadership.
In addition, Britain would provide around one million pounds to experts to work with the NTC on decommissioning and disposal of weapons, said a statement from Cameron's office.
Technical assistance would also be offered to help with the destruction of stocks of chemical agents, it said. A total of £600,000 would be provided to NGO the Mines Advisory Group to clear landmines.
"This additional money means we will be helping to protect one million people in Libya from the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance," Cameron's spokesman told reporters in London.
The statement also said 50 places would be provided for badly injured Libyans at British hospitals although the "costs of the treatment and transportation of those injured will be paid for by the Libyan authorities".
© 2011 AFP