What's In Blue

Posted Thu 25 Aug 2011

Libya Resolution

During Council consultations yesterday (24 August), the US circulated a draft resolution on Libya which was later put in blue. It seems that the Council may meet later this afternoon to adopt the resolution if South Africa does not change its position on the unfreezing of funds.

It appears the resolution would allow for the release of US$1.5 billion for humanitarian needs. It seems the money would be divided as follows: US$500 million to humanitarian organisations to fund an unfulfilled UN appeal and other humanitarian needs, another US$500 million to third-party vendors supplying fuel and other humanitarian goods and a final US$500 million to an international mechanism set up by the Contact Group on Libya to pay for the provision of social services, food subsidies and other humanitarian purchases as directed by the Transition National Council.

It seems that the US decided to take its request to unfreeze these funds to the Council after it had failed to get agreement in the Libya Sanctions Committee. (Sanctions Committee decisions are based on consensus, requiring all 15 members to be in agreement.) It appears that South Africa had expressed concern that releasing these funds would amount to recognising one party in the conflict. It seems it had also asked for the Council decision to be postponed till after the AU summit meeting which starts today.

Although South Africa had apparently agreed to free up the US$500 million meant to fund the UN appeal yesterday morning, it seems this was not acceptable to the US who sees the package of US$1.5 billion as non-negotiable.

If South Africa agrees to unfreeze the entire amount requested there may be no need to go to a vote as the issue would go back to the Libya Sanctions Committee. (The Libya sanctions regime allows for humanitarian exemptions which can be applied through a consensus decision of the Committee.)

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