10 Jun 2011

Libya's opposition to get more than $US1bn

10:59 pm on 10 June 2011

Libya's opposition movement has been promised more than $US1 billion at a meeting of the International Contact Group on Libya in Abu Dhabi.

The group includes Britain, France and the United States, as well as Arab allies Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar.

The Transitional Council, which is leading the rebellion against Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi, says it needs $US3bn over the next four months to pay salaries and buy food.

The BBC reports Italy is sending $US586 million, France $US420m, and Kuwait $US180m. Turkey is setting up a $US100m fund.

Much of the funding is coming from the unlocking of Libya assets overseas, which were frozen as part of the fight against Colonel Gaddafi.

BBC correspondents say there is no sign of any progress in the rebel requests to unfreeze Libyan assets in the US, although US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Colonel Gaddafi's days are "numbered".

"As time passes, maintaining our resolve and unity only grows more important," she told the meeting of the Contact Group convened to prepare for the post-Gaddafi era.

"Alongside our military mission to protect the Libyan people, we must continue to escalate the political, diplomatic and financial pressure on Gaddafi and his regime. Time is on our side - but we know we must sustain the pressure."

It was the third meeting of the contact group.