Libyan Rebels Seek $3B in Loans
Benghazi leaders warn funds are running low
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2011 1:52 AM CDT
Two Libyan rebels pass by a pre-Gadhafi flag as they leave with their unit's share of meals distributed at a Libyan charity institution in Benghazi.   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

(Newser) – The rebels who have set up an interim government in eastern Libya say they're running out of money to fund operations and are seeking up to $3 billion in loans. The rebel operation warns that it may soon be unable to pay public employees or provide food and medicine to civilians, reports the Washington Post. Rebel leaders are urging nations that have frozen the Gadhafi regime's assets to transfer funds to their government—but major legal hurdles stand in the way of that.

The rebels' interim finance minister says he expects the US, France, Italy and Qatar to grant loans backed by frozen Libyan assets, which will be repaid when oil revenues begin flowing again. American officials say the coalition is looking into ways to provide financial support to the rebels without violating UN sanctions. The US, which holds more than $30 billion in Libyan assets, says it wants to make sure there is a structure in place to ensure funds received by the rebels are used properly.