US asks UN to allow release of $1.5 billion Libyan frozen funds

The aid is aimed at helping Libya's National Transitional Council deliver emergency and health services to the people.

However, South Africa had blocked an initial request by the US to release aid saying sanctions imposed on Libya should not be eased until the African Union recognises NTC as the Libyan government.

"Our view is that there could be an implication that when you release this money to entities aligned to one party to the conflict you could be recognising that entity," South Africa’s Ambassador Baso Sangqu told reporters.

"In this situation in flux, we have not yet made a determination as to who" should be recognised as the Libyan government.

The US had called an urgent meeting of the UNSC to press for its demand to release the aid. The Security Council has scheduled a vote on the proposal tomorrow.

South Africa had blocked a prior US request made on August 8 to the Security Council committee on Libyan sanctions to release the funds.

Sangqu said the Security Council vote be taken after the African Union meeting.
He said his government might then approve releasing the money by the sanctions committee.

The US had on July 15 recognised the NTC as Libya's "legitimate governing authority."
About USD 30 billion in Libyan assets are held in the US after sanctions were imposed on the country to put pressure on Muammar Gaddafi to end violence against civilians in the country.

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