Germany lends Libyan rebels $144 million

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, June 15, 2011

From CNN:  Germany announced Sunday it has agreed to lend 100 million euros ($144 million) to the rebels in Libya for "civilian and humanitarian purposes" despite staying out of NATO’s bombing campaign against Libyan government forces.

Germany had previously announced a loan of $10 million (7 million euros) for humanitarian aid to the Transitional National Council, the rebel movement that is battling to unseat longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

"Because of Colonel Gadhafi’s war against his own people, the situation in Libya is very difficult," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement announcing the loan. "There is a major lack of funds to build infrastructure, as well as a shortage of needed goods, ranging from medical supplies to food."

Germany has not participated in the NATO-led military effort in Libya and abstained from the U.N. Security Council vote that authorized military action to protect civilians from Gadhafi’s forces. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in June that her country shares the hope "that this NATO mission is successful. . . ."

Germany has recognized the rebels as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people and established a liaison office with the opposition in Benghazi in May.

Berlin indicated Sunday that the loan will eventually be repaid by the Transitional National Council, using frozen assets from the Gadhafi regime. The statement indicated the reimbursement would happen "when the U.N. Security Council unfreezes the assets for a legitimate Libyan government."  (photo: Reuters)

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