United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked President Barack Obama to grant non-lethal aid of $ 25 million to the Libyan opposition who are fighting to oust the Muammar Qadhafi regime.
“We are moving to authorise up to $ 25 million in non-lethal commodities and services to support the Transitional National Council and our efforts to protect civilians and the civilian populated areas that are under threat of attack from their own government in Libya,” Ms. Clinton told reporters.
“Now the $ 25 million in goods and services will be drawn down from items already in government stocks that correspond with the needs that we have heard from the Transitional National Council,” she said.
The special U.S. representative on Libya Chris Stevens who is in Benghazi, as well as a USAID team are meeting continuously with their counterparts there in order to support their needs and protect civilians, Ms. Clinton said.
“Now some of the items are medical supplies, uniforms, boots, tents, personal protective gear, radios, halal meals.
There are no new purchases,” she said, adding this is not a blank check.
Ms. Clinton said that this action is consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which among other actions, authorised member states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas.
“The Department of State and the Department of Defence are working closely together with other partner nations in order to coordinate on what kind of non-lethal assistance is most necessary, and who among the international community can provide which goods and services,” she said.
The White House official said that it’s important to point out that this opposition, which has held its own against a brutal assault by the Qadhafi forces was not an organised militia.
“It was not a group that had been planning to oppose the rule of Qadhafi for years. It was a spontaneous response within the context of the broader Arab spring,” she noted.
Civilians, including businessmen, students, lawyers, doctors, professors have bravely moved to defend their communities and to call for an end to the regime in Libya, and US will continue to take actions consistent with UN authorisation to try to fulfil the international commitment, Ms. Clinton added.