25 Aug 2011

$US2.5 billion in aid sought by rebel council

7:03 am on 25 August 2011

Members of the National Transitional Council of Libya holding talks in Qatar with envoys from Western and Arab Gulf countries.

The BBC reports the NTC is seeking $US2.5 billion in immediate aid.

Its immediate priority is to pay salaries to employees and cover humanitarian costs. But, in the longer term, money will be needed to repair Libya's oil infrastructure.

Cabinet head Mahmoud Jibril estimates that Libya has some $US160- $US170 billion in frozen assets offshore.

The United States has said it will try to release up to $US1.5 billion. British and French diplomats are working with their allies to draft a resolution that would free funds blocked by UN Security Council sanctions.

Mr Jibril will later meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. A statement from the Elysee Palace said the talks would focus on the international community's actions to support a free and democratic Libya.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the international community faces a lot of work in Libya.

He says Britain will continue to help the war-torn country where it can.