National Transitional Council (NTC) head Mahmoud Jibril has repeated his calls on the international community to release Libyan assets that are frozen in banks all over the world, warning that the legitimacy of the NTC could come under question if the Libyan people's demands are not met after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
“The council needs to prove its power and meet the needs of the people, otherwise we may be faced with a legitimacy crisis,” Jibril told reporters in İstanbul on Friday at a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
In order for the NTC to be able to pay the salaries of people and maintain vital services such as electricity, Jibril stated that Libyan assets frozen in banks must be released and delivered to the council, whose legitimacy as the sole authority of the Libyan people has been recognized by over 40 countries so far.
“We will be faced with great expectations after the fall of the [Gaddafi] regime,” Jibril noted as he called on the help of the international community to meet the needs of Libyans, particularly in Tripoli, and in places still under the control of Gaddafi so that “they will not feel isolated from their brothers who have been freed.” Jibril noted that the NTC needed the assets for security forces to re-stabilize the country in the transitional phase.
“Our friends talk about stability and security in Libya,” noted Jibril and he added, “We can only do this if we are provided with the financial and technical tools [required for the process].” The NTC leader also called on the international community to grant the council wider recognition, removing the obstacles on its path to being the united voice of the Libyans.
Later in the day, Jibril met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who pledged to the opposition leader that “Turkey is ready to help Libya” in every possible way and that the Turkish experience in the reformation of institutions and constitutional regulations might be of help to his country. Erdoğan also touched on the significance of the need for Libyans to determine their own future for themselves.
Jibril arrived in Turkey on Thursday to participate in the extraordinary meeting of the Contact Group consisting of international powers that are involved with the restoration and the democratization process in Libya. The goal of the meeting hosted by Turkey as the rotating president of the Contact Group was to outline an Action Plan in the aftermath of the entrance of NTC forces into Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli.
Davutoğlu, who inaugurated the meeting on Thursday, called on the world to rapidly release Libyan assets to aid the Libyan people and suggested it was time for the United Nations to raise the NTC flag on the flagpole at its headquarters in New York.
With Gaddafi out of the picture, Libya is now faced with the challenging task of establishing a new order and bureaucracy, which it has been deprived of during the more than 40 year reign of Gaddafi. According to media reports, Libya has around $110 billion frozen in banks all over the world, which the international community froze to obstruct Gaddafi from using the money to silence the opposition.
Libya, which used to be a part of the Ottoman Empire until the 20th century, is a major construction partner for Turkey with total projects carried out by Turkish companies in the country reaching as high as $15 billion.
With the introduction of the uprising, however, Turkish construction companies left the country, abandoning their work and the payments owed to them by Libya. According to an analysis by Reuters, now Turkish businessmen are waiting for stability in Libya so that they can go back to Libya and receive their payments after the release of Libyan assets to the NTC. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, who was cited by Reuters, said he wanted the state-owned oil and gas exploration company to resume oil exploration and production in the country once the situation stabilizes.
While the international community tries to accommodate the new transitional council in place of the old Gaddafi-run dictatorship, NTC forces back home in Libya are still engaged in clashes with Gaddafi's remaining forces, which is allegedly made up of paid soldiers both from Libya and other countries, as well as others who remain loyal to the almost-toppled dictator. While some countries refrain from accepting the NTC as the sole authority in Libya, many others, including the Arab League and UN, have welcomed the new administration.
Libya’s NTC asks for release of assets to avoid legitimacy crisis, Today's Zaman, 26 August 2011