U.S. Wants Libyan Rebels To Have Frozen Funds

May 5, 2011
Originally published on May 5, 2011 5:09 pm
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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli has our story from Rome.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: In a sign of just how frustrated the international community is, French foreign minister Alain Juppe, whose country was in the forefront in supporting the rebels and launching airstrikes has said the military intervention must end as rapidly as possible. In fact, today, the military situation was not on the agenda. Secretary of State Clinton told reporters this morning what the meeting would discuss.

HILARY CLINTON: How better to increase the pressure on Gadhafi and those around him. Diplomatically, politically, economically, how we can bring about the outcome that the people of Libya and the international community seek. An end to the violence against civilians and the beginning of a democratic transition to a better future.

POGGIOLI: The secretary of state was asked by an Italian journalist whether the U.S. was considering a raid on Gadhafi like the one on Osama bin Laden.

CLINTON: We've made it abundantly clear that the best way to protect civilians is for Gadhafi to cease his ruthless, brutal attacks on civilians from the west to the east, to withdraw from the cities that he is sieging(ph) and attacking and to leave power. So that is the outcome we are seeking.

POGGIOLI: The rebels could use this fund for their immediate needs in covering the cost of food, medicine and hospitals. Frattini did not supply any figures, but rebel spokesmen have said they need at least $1.5 billion. Speaking through a translator, Frattini also spoke of a blueprint for Libya's political transformation.

FRANCO FRATTINI: (through translator) To be a national assembly for the reconstruction of Libya, this has to be an all- inclusive assembly in order to trigger a constitutional process that would lead to a popular referendum in the build up to parliamentary and presidential elections.

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.