Britain pushing for UN resolution to unfreeze Libyan assets

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Britain is seeking a resolution at the United Nations to release all or part of the £12 billion of Libyan assets frozen in Britain to aid the rebels, a government source said Wednesday.

"We should be moving quickly to support the new governing authorities. An important way of doing this is through seeking a resolution at the United Nations," the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source declined to comment on the possible content of a resolution but added that releasing frozen assets would form part of it.

"We are exploring with partners in New York the best way of unfreezing the assets," said the source.

"The total amount frozen in the UK is £12 billion ($20 billion, 14 billion euros) but that is not necessarily the amount that would be unfrozen," it added.

A Foreign Office spokesman added:"We have always been clear that when appropriate the frozen assets should be returned for the benefit of the Libyan people."

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution freezing the regime's assets abroad after leader Moamer Kadhafi launched a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in February.

But with the rebels' largely successful advance into Tripoli this week after a bloody six-month uprising, attention has turned to how to channel much-needed resources to the rebels.

The United States said Tuesday it was seeking to release up to $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets in order to help the rebels establish a secure government and meet humanitarian needs, and it was working through the UN to get the cash released.

© 2011 AFP

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