Last Updated: Thu Aug 25, 2011 23:56 pm (KSA) 20:56 pm (GMT)

UN releases $1.5 bln of Libyan assets for emergency aid, say diplomats

South Africa had been blocking the move at the UN sanctions committee on Libya for more than two weeks. (File photo)
South Africa had been blocking the move at the UN sanctions committee on Libya for more than two weeks. (File photo)

The United States and South Africa reached a deal Thursday to let the UN Security Council release $1.5 billion of seized Libyan assets for emergency aid, diplomats said.

The last-minute accord meant the United States would not press for a vote at the Security Council to force the release of the money.

“There is an accord, there will not be a vote and the money will be unblocked,” a diplomat close to the talks told AFP.

South Africa had been blocking the move at the UN sanctions committee on Libya for more than two weeks because it said channeling the money through the rebel government could imply recognition of the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Neither South Africa nor the African Union has yet recognized the Libyan opposition administration, whose supporters have now taken much of Tripoli as it seeks to definitively take power from Muammar Qaddafi.

The $1.5 billion is held by the United States, which wants to send $500 million to international humanitarian groups, $500 million to the NTC to pay for salaries and essential services and $500 million to an international fund for Libya to pay for fuel and other emergency items.

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