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Thursday
May122011

Libyan Opposition Leader Says Rebels in Dire Need of Funds, Asks US for Help

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Libyan rebels will run out of funds in four to five weeks unless they are granted access to some of Gadhafi’s frozen funds, the leader of the opposition movement warned in a speech at Brookings Thursday.
 
Mahmoud Jibril, the interim Prime Minister of the Transitional National Council, said the Council is in an “acute financial crisis” and needs access to about $3 billion of the nearly $34 billion of Gadhafi’s money in the coming months. The administration, however, is looking to give them access to only $150-180 million.
 
Jibril also expressed some frustration that the Obama administration has yet to formally recognize the opposition, saying that has hurt their ability to seek access to frozen funds.
 
Jibril is making his first trip to Washington, during which he is meeting with senior administration officials and lawmakers, urging them to step up support for the opposition. He was originally slated to visit D.C. last month, but had to postpone after his commercial flight from Doha was canceled. He’s met with Secretary Clinton three times, most recently during international meetings on Libya in Rome.
 
Despite the skepticism within the administration, Jibril has found some support on Capitol Hill. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told reporters after their meeting Wednesday that he would draft legislation to grant the opposition access to some of Gadhafi’s funds. Thursday morning, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he was very impressed after his meeting with Jibril.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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