Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, May 2011
Libya Contact Group Agrees to Fund Opposition at Rome Talks
France 24, May 5, 2011
By Luke SHRAGO (video)
News Wires (text)
Officials from 22 countries and six international organisations backing Libya’s opposition have agreed in Rome to set up a financial mechanism that would help the embattled rebel administration cover its running costs.
The NATO-backed coalition against Muammar Gaddafi said on Thursday it would create a fund for rebels running short of supplies and money, as the Libyan leader’s forces pounded a rebel town in the west.
Italy, host of a meeting in Rome of the “Contact Group” on Libya, said the temporary special fund would aim to channel cash to the rebel administration in its eastern Libyan stronghold of Benghazi.
A rebel spokesman in rebel-held Zintan, south-west of the Libyan capital, said pro-Gaddafi forces had fired about 50 Russian-made Grad rockets into the town so far on Thursday.
The spokesman, called Abdulrahamn, said the first salvo landed at about 6:45 (0445 GMT). There were no immediate reports of casualties, the spokesman said.
While the fighting has generally descended into a stalemate, the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC), which has been recognised by France, Italy and Qatar, has appealed for loans of up to $3 billion as it seeks to tip the balance.
But efforts to unblock Libyan state assets frozen in overseas accounts, or to allow the rebels to get past U.N. sanctions that prevent their selling oil on international markets, have been held up.
“We’ll be discussing a financial mechanism, we’ll be discussing other forms of aid,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a joint news conference with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.
“I will be formally announcing our non-lethal assistance so I think that there is an effort with urgency to meet the requests that the TNC is making,” she said.
Thursday’s meeting brings together foreign ministers from more than 20 countries including France, Britain, the United States, Italy and Qatar as well as representatives of the Arab League and the African Union.
Mahmoud Shammam, chief spokesman for the transitional council, has said the rebels urgently need $1.5 billion to cover immediate running costs.
“We need this for medical supplies, for food supplies, to keep the minimum functions of normal life—electricity, running hospitals etc,” he said on Wednesday.
Other rebels have spoken of needing $2 billion- $3 billion to try to shore up an administration created from scratch with no substantial sources of funding, and to pay the state salaries on which most people depend.
"No envelope of cash"
The meeting is not expected to address military issues but ministers are likely to restate their confidence in the NATO mission, despite a lack of progress since the initial airstrikes drove Gaddafi’s forces away from Benghazi in March.
Signs of impatience with the coalition’s lack of coherence have emerged. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is planning a separate conference of the “friends of Libya” in the coming weeks to discuss the future of the country.
Of particular concern is the fate of civilians in the surviving pockets of resistance to Gaddafi in cities in western Libya such as Misrata and Zintan.
An aid ship defied shelling by Gaddafi’s forces to rescue more than 1,000 people from Misrata but was forced to leave behind hundreds of Libyans desperate to flee the fighting.
“The boat arrived safely this morning in Benghazi,” International Organisation for Migration spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said on Thursday.
Misrata’s port is a lifeline for the city, where food and medical supplies are low and snipers shoot from rooftops. In all about 13,000 people have now been rescued by 13 ships.
The IOM hoped to carry out a further evacuation mission, but this would depend on the security situation, Panyda said.
The United States on Wednesday condemned the continued shelling of Misrata and called on Gaddafi’s forces to permit the IOM to resume evacuating wounded people from the port.
The insurgents trying to topple Gaddafi after 41 years in power had hoped for a swift victory, akin to the ousting of the leaders of neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia by popular uprisings.
But his better-equipped forces halted the rebels’ westward advance from Benghazi, and the front line is now largely static.
The United States, Britain and France, leading a NATO air campaign, say they will not stop until Gaddafi is toppled.
Britain said it had expelled two more Libyan diplomats from London days after it ordered the country’s ambassador to leave.
“I ordered the expulsion of the two diplomats on the basis that their activities were contrary to the interests of the UK,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said. On Sunday, Libyan ambassador Omar Jelban was given 24 hours to leave Britain after the British government said its embassy in Tripoli had been attacked.
The attack on the British mission followed a NATO air raid on Tripoli that the Libyan government said had killed Gaddafi’s youngest son and three of his grandchildren.
Where does NATO's "boundary" lie?
BEIJING, May 5, 2011 (Xinhua) --
Diplomats from countries involved in the military campaign in Libya held a contact group meeting in Rome on Thursday. The envoys discussed how to assist the Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi but dodged the question: Where does NATO's "boundary" lie?
NATO last November adopted a new Strategic Concept, the alliance's roadmap in the second decade of the 21st century, which reconfirms the commitment to defend -- not attack -- as the bedrock of Euro-Atlantic security.
However, just a few months later, the alliance launched its military campaign in Libya, a sovereign country, casting doubt over its commitment uttered in its new strategy.
It is widely known that NATO is a product of the Cold War. This supranational organization was established to counterbalance the Warsaw Pact. The centerpiece of the North Atlantic Treaty, Article 5, promises its major mission of "restoring and maintaining the security of the North Atlantic area."
Following that article, the alliance did not intervene in the war between Argentina and member state Britain in 1982 over control of the Malvinas (Forkland) Islands and associated island dependencies.
The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in the early 1990s after the Cold War ended but NATO remained.
Since then, the alliance has constantly broken through its "frontier" and looked for new opponents in the name of "strategic transformation."
It stepped over the Europe-North Amercia defense zone for the first time in 2001 by declaring war on Afghanistan in support of the United States.
Though a moral "high ground" might be proclaimed by NATO in the Afghanistan War, which was launched just after its member state suffered in the Sept. 11 terrorism attack, it's hard to find any excuse for the military campaign in Libya.
Some analysts say the alliance for this time had been taken by some of its member states as a "tool box" to reach their political and diplomatic aims.
The frequent use of force by NATO, the world's largest military alliance whose member states accounting for 70 percent of all global military spending, runs against the common aspirations for peace and development of mankind.
If not stopped, people can't imagine the unpredictable aftermath of power politics and military interference.
In the 21st century, in the face of a crisis, mankind needs more dialogue and negotiations and no additional "international police."
NATO supports financing rebel fighters in Libya
BRUSSELS, May 4, 2011 (Xinhua) --
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that he was in favor of providing financial support to rebel fighters in Libya to help force Muammar Gaddafi to leave.
"I am definitely in favor of taking all necessary measures to put maximum pressure on the Gaddafi regime...I do believe that will be protection of civilians if Gaddafi was forced to step down," Rasmussen told a news conference.
"In this respect, I think it will be helpful to make sure the opposition can be financed properly. I would expect such financial mechanisms to be discussed in Rome," Rasmussen said.
` In addition, Rasmussen denied that the alliance's military operation was facing a stalemate in Libya.
"The nature of the conflict has changed significantly in a month...We are making progress every day, every week," he said.
NATO denies stalemate in Libya, calls for patience
BRUSSELS, May 3, 2011 (Xinhua) --
A senior NATO military commander on Tuesday denied there was a stalemate in Libya and urged more patience for the alliance's mission.
"A mission of this type is a deliberate mission and therefore takes time... Everyday something positive happens. With our airstirkes, with our arms embargo, with our protection of the Libyan people, we take step closer to the final objective we have to reach," Italian Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri said via video conference from Naples, Italy.
"I personally don't think there is a real stalemate. Let's say that we are going slowly but steady... We are still moving forward, " he said.
The commander, who is responsible for the naval element of the operation, also said that following neutralizing Gaddafi's front forces, NATO is now targeting ammunition depots, logistic lines, command and control centers and lines of communication.
It has been more than a month since NATO assumed full command of the military campaign in Libya from the United States.
However, there is still no end in sight as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has shown no sign of giving in.
LIBYA - SPECIAL REPORT From the front line: Libya's rebel army gains confidence
THE WEEK IN MAGHREB Libya: Ahmed, a symbol of Gaddafi's repression
FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE Beleaguered rebels fight on in Misrata
FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE - LIBYA Defiant rebels fend off Gaddafi forces in Misrata
REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK - LIBYA Sitting on the dock of the bay, waiting for the story
REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK - LIBYA Gaddafi's gutted edifice of power draws gaping crowds
REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK - LIBYA Benghazi's Tahrir Square: Times Square style meets revolutionary zeal Reporter's notebook in Libya A rap song for the revolution
Reporter's notebook in Libya Benghazi: The long, loud road to revolution
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org