Mahmoud Jibril 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
UNITED NATIONS - Libya's de facto Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told the United Nations on Saturday his country has been reborn after toppling Muammar Gaddafi and appealed for the release of remaining frozen Libyan assets.
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"A new Libya is coming to life," he said in the first appearance by Libya's new leadership at the United Nations.
He recalled how Gaddafi had stood at the same podium two years ago and tossed a copy of the UN charter over his shoulder as he accused big powers of betraying its principles.
Jibril, in a business suit and tie, cut a very different figure from the deposed Libyan ruler who appeared at the United Nations in 2009 in a copper-colored robe to denounce the West in what Jibril called "a pathetic, theatrical move."
Jibril, who headed a state economic think tank under Gaddafi until he
resigned after his proposals for liberalizing the economy were rejected,
told the UN General Assembly Libya was on a new path to a
constitutional democracy and reconstruction.
"We do not claim we have a magic wand," he said, contrasting this with
Gaddafi "who looked at himself in the mirror and suddenly discovered he
is an almighty prophet with a solution to every problem on Earth, except
for Libya's problems."
Jibril asked the UN Security Council to release all remaining Libyan
assets out of an estimated $150 billion that were frozen under sanctions
UN diplomats say there are technical problems to resolve before the
release of all the assets, some of which they fear could fall into the
hands of Gaddafi, his relatives or aides.
Jibril heads the executive committee of the ruling National Transitional
Council (NTC), the voice of the rebel movement that rose up against
Gaddafi's 42-year-rule and drove him from power with support from the
West and several Arab nations.
He acknowledged that NTC forces have yet to capture all of Gaddafi's
strongholds, a vital goal if the NTC is to impose its authority across
the oil-producing North African country.
"Libya is not fully liberated yet," Jibril said, referring to Gaddafi
bastions such as Bani Walid and the ousted leader's birthplace of Sirte,
where more battles raged on Saturday.
The NTC, still based in the eastern city of Benghazi, said last week it
would move to Tripoli only after its forces are in full control of
Libyan territory, despite an earlier pledge to move the interim
administration to the capital in mid-September.
The NTC said on Friday it would unveil a "crisis" government in the next
few days, signaling a breakthrough in efforts to form a more inclusive
administration in the post-conflict phase.
If the NTC cannot swiftly impose control on Libya and its own forces,
this may embarrass Western leaders, especially French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who gambled by backing
the anti-Gaddafi movement.
Jibril said Libya could become a "gateway to migration" from Africa to
Europe, arguing that African labor could contribute to European economic
growth as the continent's population declines, even as Africa's booms
in the next few decades.