Libyan opposition members along with their Arab and western allies assembled on Thursday in Abu Dhabi to map the “end game” in Libya, which included efforts to define the contours of a new government after the exit of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, and discussions on financial arrangements to support the new dispensation.
Cash, fuel aid
The brainstorming yielded a decision to transfer to the Benghazi-based opposition, $586.1 million in cash, along with fuel aid, Reuters quoted Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini as saying on Thursday.
“Italy is committed to provide an amount of money, about 300 to 400 million euros in cash and fuel, about 150 million euros in fuel, by using a soft loan procedure guaranteed by the frozen assets,” he said.
“We have frozen, only in Italy, about $8 billion of Libyan assets that are not belonging to the regime, that are…for the Libyan people.”
Opposition figures participating in the conference, the participants of which included United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, several European and Arab Ministers and senior officials, said they were preparing to re-start oil production in order to ensure regular financial flow. The Libyan opposition's oil and finance minister, Ali Tarhouni, said the Transitional National Council (TNC) hoped to “soon” produce oil up to 100,000 barrels a day.
In order to ensure the TNC does not run out of cash, the opposition delivered its first consignment of oil to the United States on Wednesday. Around 1.2 million barrels of oil was delivered at Hawaii by a tanker chartered by the Swiss company Vitol.
Regarding Libya's political transition, U.S. officials were not categorical in saying Mr. Qadhafi had to leave the country to open the door for a new dispensation. An official said no specific decision had been taken on “where he [Mr. Qadhafi] should go, or whether he should remain in Libya for that matter.”