Libyan Rebel Leader Sets Out on Asset-Unfreezing Tour
Mahmoud Jibril, who is technically the Prime Minister of the Libyan rebel government, is setting out on a short tour in Europe in order to secure funding for the state run by the rebels.
Jibril, whose position is formally the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council fighting the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, will be in Paris for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday night.
From there, he will visit other European capitals to advocate for the unfreezing of Libyan state assets technically belonging to the Gaddafi regime to the benefit of the rebel government.
A number of European countries – including France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria – as well as the EU itself – have declared readiness to unfreeze the assets in question as soon as the UN gives its approval for such a step.
According to some estimates, Libya's internationally frozen assets amount to some USD 150 B and 144 metric tons of gold.
Jibril has already urged the international community to accelerate the unfreezing of USD 30 B in frozen funds in order to back the state-building of the Libyan rebels.
France is working with allies to draw up a UN resolution to free Libya's assets which were frozen under sanctions, according to French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero, as cited by the BBC.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a special "Friends of Libya" conference to be held in Paris in the next 10 days which could bring together as many as 30 foreign leaders and international organizations to help ease Libya's reconstruction and transition into a democratic state, as the Libyan rebels are expected to defeat the Gaddafi dictatorship.
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