The United States Government is releasing $1.5 billion in Libyan assets frozen under United Nations sanctions directed at the regime of Muammar Gadhafi. "This money will go toward meeting the needs of the Libyan people," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "We urge other nations to take similar measures. Many are already doing so," she said.
The need of the Libyan people is great. Decades of corruption, neglect, and waste by the Gadhafi regime, culminating in months of fierce fighting have left millions of Libyans without access to clean water, adequate food, sanitation, and basic health care.
In order to best serve the needs of the Libyan people, the newly unfrozen assets will be divided into three key portions. Up to $500 million will go to international humanitarian organizations, with a part of those funds going to meet the needs of displaced Libyans.
Up to $500 million will be used to pay for fuel costs for strictly civilian needs such as hospitals, electricity and desalinization and for other humanitarian purchases. As much as $400 million will be used for providing key social services, including education and health. Up to $100 million will be used to address food and other humanitarian needs.
This allocation of resources responds to humanitarian concerns in a diversified way that prioritizes key needs. The proposal also has a number of safeguards, including a restriction that none of the funds are to be used for military equipment or activities.
As these funds are released, the United States looks to the Transitional National Council, or TNC, to fulfill its international responsibilities and the commitments it has made to build a tolerant, unified democratic state – one that protects the universal human rights of all its citizens. It is critical, said Secretary Clinton, "that the TNC engage swiftly with communities and leaders across Libya to ensure order, provide critical basic services to the people, and pave the way for a full democratic transition. Libya's future will be peaceful only if the leaders and people of Libya reach out to each other in a spirit of peace. There can be no place in the new Libya for revenge attack and reprisals." The United States will stand with the Libyan people and its international partners in the weeks and months ahead, to help Libyans write the next chapter of their history.