UN moves to ease Libya sanctions

2011-07-08 14:38

Benghazi, Libya – Fearing an acute shortage of medical and other essential supplies, Libya’s rival factions are in talks with the UN to ease international sanctions on the war-torn nation.

Well-placed UN officials said representatives from Libya’s rebel council and Muammar Gaddafi’s regime held talks last week with the World Health Organisation. The talks were aimed at drawing up a list of items for sanctions relief.

The meeting with the UN agency, held in Geneva, is part of a wider drive to prevent financial sanctions slapped on Libya’s government and banks from creating a major humanitarian emergency.

Aid groups across the country have reported shortages of basic items such as vaccines and painkillers. They say stockpiles in the Gaddafi-controlled west and the rebel-held east have been rapidly whittled down after nearly five months of war.

Although some essential goods can be imported under the current sanctions regime they cannot be paid for because Libyan assets abroad are frozen and foreign banks are refusing to do business with Libyan entities.

Diplomats said Tripoli’s current quarterly order for vaccines was being held up because Dutch bank ABN-AMRO will not accept a credit note from the Bank of Libya for fear of running foul of sanctions or risking a public backlash.

Aside from emergency supplies imported by the UN and non-governmental groups, the last major delivery of medicines to the country came in January.

If the two sides could reach a deal on which items are needed on both sides of the Libyan frontline, diplomats said it would be up to Tripoli to send a request to the UN sanctions committee in New York.

The details do not yet appear to have been agreed on but could involve Libyan assets abroad being unfrozen to pay for goods or cash being transferred to the World Health Organisation to procure goods on Libya’s behalf.

The goods would then be distributed to both sides of the country.

“We need to restore the capacity of the government to procure,” said one UN official who asked not to be named. “We are really looking to try to find a solution to this problem, which is the shortage of drugs.”

The Libyan government is thought to have spent around $2 billion (about R13 billion) a year on the procurement of medicines, although some officials remarked that smarter procurement could lower that cost.
 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.