UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council is working to speed up the flow of unfrozen assets to Libya's post-war authorities, which have received only a fraction of the country's oil-based wealth held overseas, a senior council diplomat said on Wednesday.
The move follows an appeal this week to the 15-nation council by the UN special envoy to Libya, Ian Martin, to tackle what he said was Tripoli's "urgent need for liquid funds" and popular resentment at the shortage of cash.
When a rebellion broke out in February against the rule of leader Muammar Gaddafi, the Security Council froze Libyan assets stashed in foreign accounts, estimated at $150 billion accrued largely from oil exports.
More than a month after fighting ended with Gaddafi's overthrow and death, only about $18 billion has been released by special dispensations of the council's sanctions committee, but diplomats say only about $3 billion has been made available to Tripoli. The bulk of the $150 billion remains frozen.