PARIS (BNO NEWS) — The French government on Monday announced that it will transfer the frozen assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC), which France considers to be Libya’s sole representative.
The decision was announced after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who is also Minister of State, met with Mansour Seyf Al-Nasr, the NTC’s Special Envoy to France, in Paris on Monday.
“The Minister of State welcomed the appointment of Mr. Seyf Al-Nasr, which is a sign of closeness and trust that characterizes the relations between France and the NTC,” a statement issued by the French Foreign Ministry said. “The Special Envoy of the NTC was also informed that he can move into the premises of the Libyan Embassy in France.”
The statement said Seyf Al-Nasr and Juppe discussed the situation on the ground in Libya, which has been engulfed in a civil war since an uprising against Gaddafi’s regime began in mid-February. Due to the alleged violent crackdown of Libyan forces on protesters, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1973 which authorized member states to impose a no-fly zone over the North African country and to take ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians.
The officials also discussed on Monday the frozen assets of Gaddafi’s government. “The Minister of State announced to his interlocutor that the process of unlocking Libyan funds has been approved and makes the sum of $259 million available to the NTC,” the Ministry said in its statement. “The NTC can now benefit from the funds for purchases of a humanitarian nature, in compliance with European regulations.”
France was the first country to recognize the rebel council in March. Since then, 31 other countries have formally recognized the NTC as Libya’s sole representative, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Other countries have established formal or informal relations with the NTC, while some other countries only recognize the NTC as a negotiating party.