The United States has given Gaddafi’s opposition group access to $30 billion in Libyan assets held in the U.S. The Obama administration also formally recognized the rebel group, Transitional National Council, T.N.C as Libya’s legitimate government last weekend.
Among other things, this money will be used to train and purchase ammunition for the rebels, which they are desperately in need of if they would defeat the forces of Gaddafi. The money will also be used to pay for health care, electricity, and other public services.
“We will help the T.N.C. sustain its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya,” said Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in an international meeting on the Libyan conflict on Friday in Istanbul. She added, “And we will look to it to remain steadfast in its commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
In doing this, the U.S. has joined more than 30 countries in extending diplomatic recognition to the main opposition group.
However, it is not yet clear how and when the money would be released. On Saturday, American officials said vast bulk of the roughly $30 billion of Libyan assets frozen by the U.S. was properties. Only about $3.5 billion of the sum is liquid, and could be released to the Transitional National Council over time.
“The Transitional National Council, in its discussions today, did pledge that this assistance would be delivered in a transparent manner and that it would indeed be inclusive in how it was delivered to the Libyan people,” said Mark C. Toner, the State Department’s deputy spokesman.
Colonel Qaddafi reacted to this international recognition of T.N.C. in a speech on Friday night.
“Trample on those recognitions, trample on them under your feet; they are worthless,” he told thousands of supporters in a Televised speech.
In response, the rebels issued a statement, which said, “Qaddafi has not yet realized that Libyans have moved on. His rhetoric focuses on aggression and intimidation but no one is interested. We have had 42 years of looking over our shoulder in fear and now we want to face forwards in hope for a great Libya.”