Germany urges UN to quickly free up Libyan assets

By the Associated Press | August 23, 2011 | 8:05 AM EDT

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's foreign minister called Tuesday for the U.N. Security Council to quickly pass a new resolution that would unblock billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets.

Guido Westerwelle said that it's time for the money to be released to finance the rebuilding of post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya, and that a new U.N. resolution is required to do that.

"From our point of view, such a Security Council resolution should be passed as quickly as possible," he said.

On Monday, Germany formally signed an agreement to provide Libyan rebels with a loan of euro100 million ($144 million) to help with immediate rebuilding and humanitarian needs. Westerwelle said it could be paid out "in the coming days."

The money was originally pledged in July, and is to be paid back out of the frozen assets linked to Gadhafi's regime once they are released.

Germany alone has frozen euro7.3 billion of Libyan money. Britain has frozen about 12 billion pounds ($20 billion).

Westerwelle said that senior Foreign Ministry officials from international powers involved in stabilizing Libya will discuss the country's situation in Istanbul later this week, likely Thursday.

"We all agree that the United Nations should be at the center of all stabilization efforts," Westerwelle said.

Germany, a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, didn't participate in NATO's operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.