France, UK to Seek Release of More Funds for Libyan Reconstruction

The United Kingdom and France are set to push a U.N. resolution to unfreeze more Libyan overseas assets, establish a U.N. mission office in the country’s capital city and ease some sanctions imposed on Libya due to the conflict there, the heads of the two European countries announced Sept. 15.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the announcement in Tripoli, where they met with leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council. The two leaders, who are the highest foreign officials to visit Libya so far, both pledged to continue supporting Libya’s reconstruction and help address the country’s most urgent humanitarian needs.

The resolution is expected to be introduced Friday, Sept. 16, according to the Guardian. It seeks to create a new U.N. mission in Tripoli, end the arms embargo in the county, lift the no-fly zone to allow civilian flights and facilitate the release of Libyan assets still frozen in various overseas bank, the news agency says.

Cameron noted the U.K. will be able to release some 12 billion pounds ($19 billion) of Libyan assets if the resolution is approved.

The U.N. Sanctions Committee has previously approved several proposals to release some frozen Libya assets to support humanitarian and reconstruction efforts in the country. The majority of these funds are channeled through financing mechanisms co-managed by France, Italy and members of the NTC.

More recently, the United Nations acquiesced to a Norwegian government’s request to release $370 million worth of Central Bank of Libya assets held in Norwegian banks. Canada is preparing to transfer 2.2 billion Canadian dollars ($2.24 billion) worth of assets  to NTC, according to The Globe and Mail.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.