Powers plot ‘post-Gadhafi’ future as rebels eye cash

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, speaks with  Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, left, and United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash, right, as they participate in the Libya Contact Group family photo at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Thursday, June 9. (AP Photo)

 

ABU DHABI, June 9 (AFP): Major powers met Thursday to plot out what US officials call a democratic "post-Gadhafi Libya" as the rebels warned the talks would be a failure if they secured no concrete financial support. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counterparts from NATO and other countries participating in air strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's regime held their third round of Libya talks in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi.
The minister of oil and finance in the Libyan rebel council, Ali Tarhoni, said the rebels would start producing 100,000 barrels of oil per day "soon" from eastern fields under their control. But while such output will one day bring in more revenue, he said he hoped the third meeting of the International Contact Group "will establish a financial mechanism" to help the rebels' National Transitional Council (NTC).
"If no financial concrete support comes out of this conference, we will consider that a total failure," Tarhoni warned. He said he hoped that at very least West governments would extend loans to the opposition secured on the billions of dollars of assets of the Gadhafi regime frozen abroad.
The opposition has complained that it has seen nothing concrete since the group last met on May 5 in Rome when the powers agreed to set up a fund to aid the rebels and promised to tap frozen assets of Gadhafi's regime. "We understand the (NTC's) frustration but again the international community isn't going to let the (NTC) go under financially," a US official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The contact group was to debate a "mechanism" through which aid "can flow in a transparent and accountable manner," the official said. US officials said the United States would urge Arab countries to offer more funds to the rebel administration based in Libya's second city of Benghazi.
Two dozen countries, including key NATO allies Britain, France and Italy, as well as delegates from the United Nations, the Arab League, and the Organisation of Islamic Conference are attending the talks. Libya, a key crude-exporting nation that was producing some 1.7 million barrels a day (bpd) before the rebellion broke out in mid-February, has seen its output slashed since the revolt began.
According to the International Energy Agency, Libya's exports averaged 1.49 million bpd before the uprising, with 85 percent of that going to Europe. A small number of export shipments have been made from rebel-held territory, delivered to market through Qatar Petroleum in an exemption to the sanctions.
But rebels said last month they had no immediate plans to resume significant oil exports as their priority was to ensure oil installations were made secure. The talks in Abu Dhabi come after President Barack Obama said NATO's bombing mission in Libya, launched in March, was forging "inexorable" advances that meant it was only a matter of time before Gadhafi quits power.

Senate readies bill to use Gadhafi assets for aid

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters): President Barack Obama could use frozen Libyan government assets to pay for humanitarian aid to Libyan people caught in the North African country's civil war under a bill sponsored by a group of leading Senate Democrats and Republicans. "The ongoing violence in Libya has disrupted the economy and left far too many innocent Libyan citizens struggling to simply put food on the table and to manage the daily necessities of life," Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson said on Wednesday in a joint statement with the committee's senior Republican, Richard Shelby.
The United States is holding more than $34 billion as part of sanctions imposed in late February against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his top officials. Under the measure, none of the assets could be used to buy weapons or military equipment. Some U.S. lawmakers have been wary of directly arming Libyan rebels seeking to overthrow Gadhafi. Obama administration officials have said they were looking into whether some of the frozen cash, securities and other financial instruments could be used to aid the Libyan rebel effort.
Other backers of the bill are Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and the panel's top Republican John McCain, and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, an Independent. Bipartisan agreement on the measure written in consultation with the administration gives it a better chance of quick passage. But the measure would still have to clear the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sponsors of bill said the war in Libya has nearly brought its economy to a halt and has precipitated a humanitarian crisis with food and medical supplies running dangerously low in some areas. Rebel groups and forces loyal to the Libyan leader have been fighting in a civil war ignited in February when Gadhafi tried to crush pro-democracy rallies.

Prosecutor says Gadhafi linked to rape policy

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (Reuters):
International Criminal Court investigators have evidence linking Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to a policy of raping opponents and may bring separate charges on the issue, the ICC prosecutor said on Wednesday. Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested arrest warrants on May 16 against Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the country's spy chief on charges of crimes against humanity committed during attempts to crush the country's rebellion.
ICC judges are considering Moreno-Ocampo's request, but the prosecutor said that after their decision, he might present new charges of mass rape. The rape allegation is not new. It was raised in the U.N. Security Council in April by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who said some of Gadhafi's troops had been issued with the impotency drug Viagra. Moreno-Ocampo said in an interview with Reuters on May 2 he was investigating the allegation. At a U.N. news conference on Wednesday, he said the question until recently had been whether Gadhafi himself could be associated with the rapes "or is it something that happened in the barracks?" "But now we are getting some information that Gadhafi himself decided" to authorize the rapes, "and this is new," Moreno-Ocampo said. "It never was the pattern he used to control the population. The rape is a new aspect of the repression," he said. "Apparently, he decided to punish using rapes."
Moreno-Ocampo repeated the allegation of use of impotency drugs, saying his team was finding "some elements" confirming the purchase of "Viagra type of medicaments." He said there was evidence of Libya acquiring "containers" of such drugs "to enhance the possibility to rape women."