Spain says ready to unfreeze more funds for Libya

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The Spanish government has given Libyan rebels access to 16 million euros in funds in Spain and is ready to unfreeze more, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Wednesday.

"We have placed at the disposal of the National Transitional Council 16 million euros ($23 million) of Libyan funds deposited in Spain," the prime minister told a news conference.

"We are prepared within the United Nations framework to unfreeze Libyan funds -- only, I stress, within the United Nations framework -- for the support of the Libyan people," he said.

The 27-nation EU locked up billions of euros in Libyan assets this year after the United Nations imposed sanctions on the Kadhafi regime as punishment for its brutal repression of a revolt that began in February.

The international community has been seeking to release the funds since the rebels took control of Tripoli.

Senior officials from around 60 countries will meet in Paris on Thursday in a bid to secure financial and diplomatic support for the fledgling revolutionary regime.

Zapatero said the so-called Libya Contact Group of international powers. made up of 28 different nations and seven international organizations, should now be expanded to include more countries.

"Tomorrow a very important summit on Libya will take place in Paris, a summit to evaluate the final phase of the regime which is in the process of collapsing and to, most of all, support the future of Libya," he said.

"For this, two things are necessary. First, that the representation of the so-called contact group be expanded and that a great number of countries commit themselves.

"And secondly, that the National Transitional Council plan a future with the maximum possible integration of the Libyan people," he added at a joint news conference with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

© 2011 AFP

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