Turkey: Unfreezing Libyan assets critical

Aug. 25, 2011 at 6:39 PM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu praised Libyan rebels Thursday, saying they have advanced the causes of "freedom, justice, dignity and democracy."

"Today we are all proud and pleased with the groundbreaking developments on the ground" in Libya, Davutoglu said at an international conference to plan for the country's transition after the downfall of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, CNN reported.

"The military victories of the National Transitional Council (the rebel Libyan government) against the Gadhafi forces in Tripoli have brought the Libyan people closer to the noble cause that they been fighting for -- freedom, justice, dignity and democracy."

The conference has brought together diplomats from 29 countries for a meeting of the Libyan Contact Group, a coalition of Arab and European governments co-chaired by Turkey, along with representatives of the United States, NATO, the United Nations and the European League.

Representatives of many of the countries at the meeting in Istanbul backed Libyan rebels by freezing the assets of Gadhafi's government while offering military and financial support to the National Transitional Council.

Davutoglu said unfreezing Libyan assets and turning them over to the council was of "critical importance" and the rebel leadership has asked the United Nations and several countries to release Libyan money frozen in foreign banks by the U.N. Security Council, CNN said.

Representing the United States, William Burns, deputy secretary of state, called on Gadhafi supporters to end their fighting.

"The departure of the Gadhafi regime opens the door to a new future for Libya," Burns said in a statement. "But the situation on the ground remains fluid, and the fighting has not ceased. We must collectively continue to call for the immediate end to the violence, and to safeguard civilian life. Remaining Gadhafi loyalists should lay down their arms and join an inclusive transition now, for the sake of Libya."

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