Libyan rebels seek financial help from Spain

July 22nd, 2011 - 8:34 am ICT by IANS  

Madrid, July 22 (IANS/EFE) Libya’s rebel group has appealed to Spanish corporates for financial aid to begin reconstruction of the North African country even as Muammar Gaddafi continues to hang on to power.

Mahmud Jibril of the National Transitional Council (NTC) urged Spanish oil giant Repsol YPF and other companies to renew operations in Libya, using frozen Gaddafi-regime assets in Spain as a financial guarantee for new projects.

If Spain and other nations fail to provide aid now, the NTC’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Libyan people “will fade”, Jibril said at a press conference in Madrid after meeting Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez.

Jimenez said Spain is considering “all the possibilities” of allowing frozen Gaddafi assets to be used as collateral for loans to the NTC or as new investment in rebel-controlled areas.

Libya’s next government will respect the contracts Spanish firms signed with Gaddafi, “as long as they are in accord with the interests of the Libyan people”, Jibril said.

Repsol YPF, whose Libyan operations are located in Gaddafi-held territory, evacuated its workers from the country after the conflict broke out in February.

Jimenez said they were searching for a legal formula that would allow the NTC to access the frozen assets without violating the terms of the UN resolutions sanctioning the military operation in Libya and the embargo on Gaddafi’s foreign wealth.

Other countries, including France, Italy, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have extended loans to the NTC, insisting that the rebel body is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

–IANS/EFE
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