South African Government position on the unfreezing of Libyan Assets

South Africa reiterates its concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Libya brought about by the ongoing civil war and NATO's military campaign.  We are fully aware of the humanitarian needs on the ground and are conscious of the urgency to alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people.  Today, the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee approved the release of Libyan assets amounting to $1.5 billion to respond to this humanitarian crisis.

South Africa had earlier expressed reservations on the unfreezing of these Libyan assets in a manner that could suggest that the Security Council had recognized the National Transitional Council (NTC), while neither the United Nations nor the African Union had made such a determination. South Africa has always supported the approach of the African Union to pursue an all-inclusive peaceful political solution to the Libyan crisis and rejects any narrative towards regime change.

Consequently, after intensive negotiations, the United States withdrew any reference to the NTC in their letter requesting the unfreezing of the assets, thus excluding any form of recognition of the NTC through this proposal.  With these changes, after consultations within the AU and considering that the interests of the Libyan people are paramount, South Africa agreed to the release of these funds.

South Africa hopes that the funds released by the Security Council will contribute towards easing the humanitarian situation and will be used directly for the benefit of the people of Libya as they embark on a difficult and yet necessary road towards and an all-inclusive transition to peace, unity and democracy.

In this context, South Africa will continue to support the people of Libya in meeting their legitimate aspirations for democracy, justice, peace and security. For sustainable peace to be achieved, it is critical that the Libyans themselves assume full ownership of their future.

For further information kindly contact Mr Clayson Monyela, DIRCO Spokesman, on 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
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www.dirco.gov.za

26 August 2011

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