U.N. chief warns of humanitarian disaster as Libya meeting opens

U.N. chief warns of humanitarian disaster as Libya meeting opens
# 13 April 2011 21:01 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The United Nations chief opened an international meeting on Libya Wednesday with a grim assessment of the humanitarian fallout from the conflict, APA reports quoting CNN.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Arab and African diplomats and their NATO counterparts that in a worst-case scenario, as many as 3.6 million strife-affected people could eventually require help. And the money to provide that help is slow in coming, he said.
So far the United Nations has seen only 39 percent of the $310 million it requested in emergency funding, "clearly insufficient given the prospective need," Ban said.
"It is critical that the international community act in concert, that we speak with one voice, and that we continue to work in common cause on behalf of the Libyan people," he told delegates at a Libyan Contact Group meeting in Doha.
The international delegates plan to meet with Libyan opposition leaders in an attempt to work out a peaceful end to the deadly impasse in the North African nation. Despite a NATO-led aerial campaign and rebels fighting on the ground, leader Moammar Gadhafi has shown no signs of acquiescing.
Among the high-profile attendees in Doha is Gadhafi’s former intelligence chief and foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, who fled to Britain last month. It’s unclear how opposition leaders will receive Koussa’s efforts in Doha.
On Tuesday, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chairman of Libya’s Transitional National Council, did not explicitly reject the idea of meeting Koussa but said such a meeting was "not on the agenda."
The Libyan Contact Group was formed after a London conference on Libya last month. The first meeting in Doha comes as civilian casualties continue to mount.
The besieged western city of Misrata has been especially vulnerable. Gadhafi’s tanks have been pounding Misrata, where Tuesday, a doctor reported at least 10 people were killed and 30 were wounded.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe both called Tuesday for NATO to get more aggressive in Libya, and Ghoga urged the international community to implement a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for "all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack."
Hague, a co-chair of the Doha meeting, said before Wednesday’s sessions that the group would be looking into providing a funding mechanism in opposition-held areas.
Ghoga told CNN that the opposition has submitted a wish list of military equipment to Qatar and France. He said the list was compiled by rebel military leaders, but he didn’t know exactly what was being requested.
In an interview last week, Ghoga indicated that weapons were on their way to Libya.
The Doha meeting follows an effort earlier this week by the African Union to forge a peace plan that had been accepted in principle by Gadhafi. But Ghoga and fellow rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil rejected it on grounds that it did not provide any solutions to violence against the Libyan people.
Meanwhile in Germany, the foreign ministry said it had summoned the Libyan ambassador to inform him of the expulsion of five Libyan diplomats. They will have to leave Germany within seven days because of accusations of intimidation of Libyan citizens in Germany.
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