Cash-Strapped Libyan Rebels Start Moving from Benghazi to Tripoli
Even though fighting in Libya's capital between dictator Muammar Gaddafi's forces and the Libyan rebels is still going on, the latter have started to move their headquarters from Benghazi to Tripoli.
Heavy fighting in Tripoli has been reported to be going on in some parts of the city early Thursday morning, with surviving pockets of resistance by Gaddafi loyalists.
This, however, has not prevented the institutions of the rebel Transitional National Council from starting to move their offices to the Libyan capital from their permanent base in Benghazi in Eastern Libya, which hosted them for six months, Al Jazeera reports early Thursday.
Rebels in Tripoli are also reported to be using Muammar Gaddaf's compound as a staging area to plan operations and discuss deployments as the city has not been fully secured.
Meanwhile, also overnight, Libyan rebels have called upon world leaders to release at least USD 5 B in frozen assets of the Gaddafi regime to their benefit so they can pay state salaries and maintain vital services like medical care, Aref Ali Nayed, a senior Libyan diplomat said late on Wednesday after talks with Western and Arab envoys.
"We cannot wait for this money,'' said Nayed, the Libyan ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and spokesman for a rebel "stabilization team'' working out of Dubai. Nayed urged the UN Security Council and others to unblock the funds by early Thursday or risk leaving the rebel leadership unable to meet public needs.
Debates have been going on at the UN on the releasing of some of the frozen funds for the Libyan rebels, with South Africa blocking the decision for the time being.
In order to release the USD 1.5 B in Libyan assets frozen in US banks, the USA tried to get approval from the UN committee monitoring the sanctions. But that decision has to be unanimous and diplomats said South Africa was blocking approval. So the US is going to the Security Council to bypass the need for consensus.
South Africa later made it clear it accepted that humanitarian aid is needed but it has problems with the two thirds of funds which will be going to the Transitional National Council, the BBC reported. It wants to know if the council has been mandated by the Libyan people to disperse their money.
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