Libyan rebels in loan talks to avert cash crunch

Mon May 2, 2011 10:08pm GMT

* Rebels face "critical" financial situation

* In talks for loans from Qatar, UAE

By Deepa Babington

BENGHAZI, Libya, May 2 (Reuters) - Rebels controlling Libya's east are in talks for loans from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, a spokesman said, as they scramble to avoid running out of funds as the Libyan conflict drags on.

The Benghazi-based rebel interim national council has scraped together enough cash to pay salaries for public workers in April but will struggle to meet May expenses without a fresh injection of funds, spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga said.

"Without the use of the frozen assets or at least loans that will have frozen assets as collateral, our finanical situation will be quite critical," Ghoga told reporters.

"February and March we had no problems, April I think we just about managed it, but if we don't get any financing for May we will be in difficulty."

Concern over how long the rebels can keep up operations and maintain basic services in the east have grown as the war hits a military stalemate, with fighting stalled on the eastern frontline and continued bombardment by Gaddafi forces on besieged towns in the west.   Continued...

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