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Countries pledge aid to Libyan rebels

Countries pledge aid to Libyan rebels
A Libyan woman participates in a demonstration against Libyan leader Muamer Qadhafi in the eastern city of Benghazi on May 3, 2011. Hundreds of demonstrators, including tribal elders, rallied to show support with the rebels in the rebel's stronghold city of Benghazi. UPI\Tarek Alhuony | License Photo

ROME, June 9 (UPI) -- Countries pledged aid packages in various forms to help Libyan rebels fight to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power, diplomats said Thursday.

Addressing the third meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Abu Dhabi Thursday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said stronger support for the rebel National Transitional Council in Benghazi was "urgently needed," the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

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Italy was the first country to donate millions of dollars in fuel and loans to the rebel council. Frattini said $580 million will be used for the council's "day-to-day needs" but not for weapons, Gulf News reported.

"Money mechanism takes time, the loans are expected to be flown into Libya in the next few weeks, and in the meantime we expect the [council] to come up with a more detailed political transition plan after the Gadhafi regime," Frattini said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also attending the meeting, announced an additional $26 million in aid for victims of the Libyan civil war, CNN reported.

Kuwait will donate $180 million for humanitarian needs, announced Sheik Mohammed Sabah al Salman al Sabah, the Gulf nation's deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

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Frattini stressed the need to find a "legal solution" to unfreezing Gadhafi's assets for humanitarian purposes, ANSA said.

"[The] ultimate goal must be a democratic Libya where there is no room for vendettas or score-settling," Frattini said.

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