Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville peace talks suspended

Read more

ENCORE!

High-tech acting king Andy Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Read more

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza: children caught up in the conflict

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Was the UN chief’s speech in Tel Aviv really a 'shameful message'?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France concerned about anti-Semitism

Read more

  • Live: Pro-Palestinian protest staged in Paris under tight security

    Read more

  • UN human rights chief blasts Israel-Gaza ‘war crimes’

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

  • Poland’s Rafal Majka wins 17th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Remains of Flight MH17 victims arrive in the Netherlands

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • TransAsia Airways Taiwan crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

Africa

US to give $25 million in aid to struggling Libyan rebels

Latest update : 2011-04-21

After weeks of deliberation, the US administration has unveiled plans to send $25 million in nonlethal supplies to rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Libya, the first direct US aid to the anti-regime rebels.

AP - The Obama administration plans to give the Libyan opposition $25 million in nonlethal assistance in the first direct U.S. aid to the rebels after weeks of assessing their capabilities and intentions, officials said Wednesday.

Amid a debate over whether to offer the rebels broader aid, including cash and possibly weapons and ammunition, the administration has informed Congress that President Barack Obama intends to use his so-called drawdown authority to give the opposition, led by the Transitional National Council in Benghazi, up to $25 million in surplus American goods to help protect civilians in rebel-held areas threatened by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Special report: with Misrata's rebels
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who recommended that Obama authorize the assistance, said the aid would go to support the council and “our efforts to protect civilians and the civilian populated areas that are under threat of attack from their own government in Libya.” She said the aid “will be drawn down from items already in government stocks that correspond with the needs that we have heard from the Transitional National Council.”
 
Congress was notified in writing of the plan late last week and was briefed in greater detail on Tuesday by Gene Cretz, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, officials said.
 
Initially, the administration had proposed supplying the rebels with vehicles and portable fuel storage tanks but those items were dropped from the list of potential aid on Wednesday after concerns were expressed that they could be converted into offensive military assets, the officials said.
 
The list is still being revised but now covers items such as medical supplies, uniforms, boots, tents, personal protective gear, radios and Halal meals, which are meals prepared according to Islamic tradition, the officials said. Most of the items are expected to come from Pentagon stocks, they said.
 
“There is an urgency in providing these commodities,” the State Department said in a notice sent Friday to lawmakers and obtained by The Associated Press.
 
“This is not a blank check,” Clinton told reporters, adding that the move was consistent with the U.N. mandate that authorized international action to protect Libyan civilians and acknowledging that the opposition is in dire need of help.
 
“This opposition, which has held its own against a brutal assault by the Gadhafi forces was not an organized militia,” she said. “It was not a group that had been planning to oppose the rule of Gadhafi for years. It was a spontaneous response within the context of the broader Arab spring. These are mostly business people, students, lawyers, doctors, professors who have very bravely moved to defend their communities and to call for an end to the regime in Libya.”
 
The move comes as U.S. allies step up their aid to the rebels, with Britain, France and Italy sending military advisers amid calls for the U.S. to offer direct assistance outside its participation in NATO military operations. France and Italy have recognized the Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate government, which the United States has not done.
 
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that Obama was aware of the allies’ decision to send in advisers “and hopes - believes - that it will help the opposition. But it does not at all change the president’s policy on no boots on the ground for American troops.”
 
Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed Libya Wednesday, including increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on Gadhafi, the White House said.
 
There has been much debate over whether to supply the rebels with weapons, and the officials said that option remains on the table.
 
The officials said the nonlethal assistance would be monitored to ensure it is used properly, although they noted that the items to be sent present a low risk of misuse.

 

Date created : 2011-04-21

  • LIBYA

    France, UK, Italy to send military advisers to Libya

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Sarkozy vows to ramp up air strikes on Gaddafi forces

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Gaddafi's son ‘very optimistic’ of victory

    Read more

COMMENT(S)