Madrid – A senior member of the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council appealed here Thursday to Spanish officials and corporate executives for financial aid to begin reconstruction of the North African nation and meet the needs of the population even as Moammar Gadhafi continues to cling to power.
If Spain and other nations fail to provide aid now, the NTC's legitimacy in the eyes of the Libyan people "will fade," Jibril told a press conference in Madrid after meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez.
The Spanish government is considering "all the possibilities" of allowing frozen Gadhafi assets to be used as collateral for loans to the NTC or new investment in rebel-controlled areas, Jimenez said.
Libya's next government will respect the contracts Spanish firms signed with Gadhafi, "as long as they are in accord with the interests of the Libyan people," Jibril said.
Repsol YPF, whose Libyan operations are located in Gadhafi-held territory, had to evacuate its workers from the North African company after the conflict broke out in February.
Jibril said he knew the value of the Gadhafi faction's real and financial assets in Spain, but would not disclose it without approval from Jimenez, who responded by saying she didn't know the sum.
NTC finance and oil chief Ali Tarhuni, who accompanied Jibril to Madrid, suggested the figure runs into billions of dollars.
Jimenez said the search continues for a legal formula that would allow the NTC to access the frozen assets without violating the terms of the U.N. resolutions sanctioning the military operation in Libya and the embargo on Gadhafi's foreign wealth.
Spain will continue to provide humanitarian aid, Jimenez said, describing Madrid's commitment to the future of Libya as "clear, firm and enduring."
The Spanish government has provided four F-18 fighters, two refueling planes, a surveillance aircraft, a frigate and a submarine for the NATO-led effort to enforce a no-fly zone and arms embargo in Libya.