Open Letter to all CMEC supporters from Dr Ali Tarhuni, Minister For Finance And Oil, Libyan National Transitional Council, Benghazi.
20 June 2011
Here in Benghazi we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude for the support the UK has extended to Libyans during our struggle against the tyrannical regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Together with her international partners, the UK has played a leading role in this defining battle for a Free Libya. No one will ever forget this act of generosity and support for a democratic state.
We believe this conflict needs to be waged on all fronts. At present we face a liquidity crisis which threatens the stability of liberated Libya. With every day that passes we approach financial collapse. Funding pledges from international donors have yet to materialise. Our monthly salary bill, meanwhile, is in the region of 340m dinars. At present our money supply is almost finished.
It goes without saying that the consequences of running out of ready money are potentially catastrophic. Libyans have already demonstrated extraordinary patience, understanding that the National Transitional Council is doing everything in its power to keep the lights on and the workers paid. When the dinars run out, the prospect of economic strife and instability loom large. We feel sure that no one other than Gaddafi would wish this upon us.
The neatest short-term solution to this crisis is for the UK government to release the 1.4bn dinars (approximately £700m) printed by De La Rue and currently sitting in Britain. We are deeply grateful that London has impounded this money, which was originally intended for the Tripoli regime. We would now ask the UK to exert every effort to take the next step and transfer this physical cash to the NTC to enable us to keep our economy afloat and pay our people.
Although there are inevitably serious legal issues that must be dealt with relating to the release of the De La Rue dinars, we sincerely hope the UK can give this burning issue the urgent attention it deserves. The future of a stable Libya after Gaddafi is too important to let this issue fester.
Once again, my thanks to the British government and the people of your great country for backing all those in Libya fighting for their freedom. The end of 42 years of tyranny cannot come soon enough.
Dr Ali Tarhuni
Minister for Finance and Oil
National Transitional Council