Following Up on Our Pledge to the Libyan People

Posted by David S. Cohen
September 1, 2011
Libyan Residents Hold Giant Flag For Cars Driving in Streets of Tripoli

When President Obama imposed sanctions against the Government of Libya to hold the Qadhafi regime accountable for its wanton violence against the Libyan people and abuse of their human rights, he made clear that U.S. sanctions were also intended to protect "the assets that belong to the people of Libya."

As announced by Secretary Clinton today in Paris, we are taking steps to fulfill that commitment.

Roughly $37 billion in Libyan assets have been frozen under U.S. jurisdiction, and, at the request of the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), Treasury has released $700 million to the TNC this week to help the TNC cover fuel and civilian operating costs and pay salaries in support of the Libyan people. The funds are being transferred to the Temporary Financing Mechanism. We remain in close contact with the TNC on the release of additional assets.

In a blog post earlier this year, I wrote that our sanctions "serve two very important objectives: depriving Muammar Qadhafi and his government access to these assets and simultaneously safeguarding them for the Libyan people."

U.S. and international sanctions isolated the Qadhafi regime from the international financial system, helping to deny it the ability to fund its military operations and maintain support in Tripoli. The disruptive impact of sanctions on the Qadhafi regime was massive. And with this initial release of frozen assets, we are taking another important step to help the TNC build a state that reflects the aspirations of the Libyan people.

At the same time, these efforts illustrate how sanctions can significantly advance U.S. national security and foreign policy goals and objectives.

Since February, our efforts have been amplified by similar action by the international community, including the adoption of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, which froze the assets of Muammar Qadhafi and a number of his children, as well as all entities owned or controlled by them, among others, and additional sanctions by the European Union. Together with our colleagues at the State Department, we will continue to work closely with our partners and allies on ways to release additional frozen Libyan assets to the TNC and the people of Libya.



New Mexico, USA
September 5, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Under Secretary Cohen,

Given the revelations in the NYTimes regarding meetings between Ghaddafi officials and Chinese arms manufacturers, (just the meetings themselves seemingly violating UN res. 1970) it seems to me that folks have a very long way to go before the US can have a good constructive relationship with China in an atmosphere of trust.

In the meantime sir, I should probably note the number of times I've suggested that the US bill China about ten trillion dollars(US)for their support of 'lil Kim in North Korea allowing him to become a nuclear terrorist(defined by his threats to go to nuclear war with S. Korea and ourselves).

I think this issue would probably land on your desk if the billing were to ever become policy and I've asked anyone in this government to tell me why we can't take this approach to force a humanitarian realization upon those that are willing to cause security problems for us around the world (China not being the only ethical infant I have in mind).

So as this idea is not hypothetical can you tell me why this government of ours can't take such a creative approach beyond the limits of sanctioning various Chinese companies?

The way I figure it works sir is that we'll get paid in full to recoup our expenses because the Chinese government won't want to lose 100% market share in the US economy, and billing the government of China pretty well forces them to recoup that from their own arms merchants, effectively putting them out of buisiness globally.

Anyway, you're probably the most qualified person to have posted blog here that can answer my basic query of whether such an approach might have the potential to produce positive results for greater peace and stability around the world or not, and I hope you'll entertain my question seriously, and give it some thought.



California, USA
September 5, 2011

Rachelle in California writes:

Please review David Kirkpatrick's September 5th report in The New York Times about human rights violations in Libya by the rebel forces and provisional government. Libya's migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are being brutally hunted down and imprisoned without evidence and only because of their skin color.

These innocent members of Libya's underclass are held in makeshift prisons by the hundreds, without water and sanitation, and are violently forced into giving false confession that they mercenaries hired by Qadhafi.

Libya's provisional government, semi-independent rebels, and many among its Arab-Berber population are complicit in these flagrant abuses of the rule of law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The provisional rebel government in Libya has received our full support and must be held accountable for their actions. Under our watch we cannot allow brutal racism to serve as a cornerstone for this country's new government.


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