Wednesday, 21 December 2011

NTC asks UN to unfreeze more assets

The UN Sanctions Committee swiftly responded to the National Transitional Council's (NTC) written request to lift the freeze on Libya's overseas assets. Although sanctions against the National Oil Company (NOC) were lifted in September, both the Central Bank and the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) continued to be subject to sanctions and particularly an asset freeze.

The sanctions on the two banks were lifted on 16th December with no objections from members of the committee. The US immediately signalled its intention to unblock those funds that are being held by the US Treasury; the UK and France acted in a similar fashion.

It is likely, however, that it will take some time for the assets to produce any form of useful cash injection into the local economy. It should though assist the NTC in demonstrating to the Libyan public that it is capable of running the country.

Not only are banks inside the country currently reporting trouble providing sufficient cash but substantial finances will also be essential for the government to both take on reconstruction projects and achieve its primary aim of providing adequate care for those who were wounded or bereaved during the fighting.

These aims are becoming all the more important when viewed in the context of increasing dissatisfaction about the direction in which the country is going. Protests are becoming more common as Libyans revel in their right to express their opinions and be heard. Although demonstrations have become commonplace in several areas, including Tripoli, it is Benghazi which has seen the majority of protests.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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