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Rome Summit on Libya: Gaddafi must go, fund for rebels created

06. May 2011. | 07:46

Source: ANSAmed

The summit held in Rome on Libya launched a special fund to help the rebels and issued a warning to Muammar Gaddafi, who is becoming increasingly "isolated" on the international scene, that "time is running out" for his regime.

The summit held in Rome on Libya launched a special fund to help the rebels and issued a warning to Muammar Gaddafi, who is becoming increasingly "isolated" on the international scene, that "time is running out" for his regime.

The meeting of the Contact Group on Libya at the Italian Foreign Ministry, according to Italian Foreign Ministry Franco Frattini, is another step forward, even though a solution to the Libyan puzzle is still far off at least for the time being.

So much so that in the evening Frattini called the plan by his Turkish counterpart Davutoglu for a ceasefire within seven days overly "ambitious", saying that a reasonable objective would be a few weeks.

It was the Italian chief of diplomacy and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - in Rome under heavy security on her first mission after the operation against Osama bin Laden - who with a bilateral talk began a meeting that put representatives from 22 countries and 6 international organisations around the same table, starting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The final statement of the summit spoke about an agreement between all participants to "intensify" pressure on a "military, economic and political level" against the regime of the colonel, who is responsible for "inhumane and criminal" actions against his people which will "not go unpunished".

The statement also mentioned military actions as an "instrument" to achieve "a political transition that reflects the will of the Libyan people". They discussed the road map outlined by two NTC representatives, which calls for an 'inclusive' national assembly in the post-Gaddafi era to draw up a Constitution to be voted on in a referendum and to give power back to the people through presidential and parliamentary elections.

A path that is not very different from what took place in Italy following the collapse of fascism and the end of the war. And the NTC, as an initial "positive sign of their desire for democracy", said Frattini, announced today that they want to immediately proceed with local elections in the areas under their control.

However, beyond good intentions, today the international community tried to guarantee concrete assistance to the National Transitional Council in Benghazi through the creation of a "special fund" to provide financial aid to the rebels. Insurgents, or "freedom fighters" as they want to be called at this point, warned that they are out of funds and risk going bankrupt without 2 or 3 billion dollars in aid.

We are still far away from the objective, but today's meeting was useful in at least identifying a "temporary financial mechanism" to collect international aid. The fund will be managed by a small group of countries (including Italy and France on a 6-month rotation), but should not be fed by Libyan assets frozen abroad:

"It would create legal problems", said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, "which is why we created an alternative solution" based on "donations, loans and subsequently, unfrozen assets". For the time being only Kuwait put 180 million dollars on the table, while the Prime Minister of Qatar promised 500 million dollars.


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02. May - 08. May 2011.