The opposition government in Libya is running out of money to pay workers and provide basic necessities to civilians, and is now seeking $3 billion in international loans. The economies of eastern cities like Benghazi have been severely disrupted by more than two months of fighting and isolation from the capital city of Tripoli. —KDG
Rebel leaders have urged countries that froze Libyan assets to shift that money to them, but diplomats say there are legal obstacles to such a move. A senior U.S. official said the coalition wants to provide financial support to the rebels, but hasn’t committed to a precise amount and is trying to figure out how to do so legally.
Top diplomats from around the world, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, are scheduled to discuss ways to meet the financial needs of the rebels at a meeting in Rome on Thursday.
After more than two months of fighting, the economy in the eastern portion of the country has been badly battered. While most of the country’s oil comes from the east, forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi have disrupted production, denying the rebels a potential lifeline. The effective partitioning of the country interrupted pay for the majority of workers here, who are employed in the public sector and were paid from Tripoli before the fighting began.