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Germany to provide 100-million euro loan to Libyan rebels: daily

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Jul 23, IRNA -- The German government is to provide up to 100 million euros in loans to Libyan rebels orchestrating the overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said in a report to hit the newsstands Sunday.

Berlin hopes to recoup the credit from some of the Libyan assets frozen in Germany, estimated to be more than seven billion euros, as a result of UN and European Union sanctions.

The German foreign ministry said the loan is to be earmarked for civilian and humanitarian purposes.

It added that the credit was also aimed at strengthening the Transitional National Council as a 'legitimate representative of the Libyan people.'

The decision to offer the loan to the Libyan rebel group was made following an initiative by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Chairing the UN Security Council this month, Germany has backed the unfreezing of assets in the UN to benefit Benghazi-based Libyan insurgents, however China and Russia have opposed the move.

Germany which refused to play a direct military role in the controversial UN-supported NATO operation to enforce a no-fly zone, has faced tremendous pressure by the US to play a greater role in Libya.

Meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated her willingness to assume a greater role in the war-stricken country, including providing humanitarian aid, economic reconstruction and rebuilding state institutions.

Obama had pressed on the issue during his talks with Merkel in the White House, saying he expected Germany to play a bigger role in Libya once Qadhafi's regime is no longer in power.

'There is going to be a lot of work to do when Qadhafi does step down in terms of getting the Libyan people back on their feet - economic, political work that's going to have to be done,' Obama was quoted saying.

'And my expectation is going to be that there will be full and robust German support, as there have been -- has been in the past from Germany on a wide range of issues,' the American president went on to say.

OT**1771
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30489282



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