March 2, 2011 / 2:55 PM / in 7 years

Spain freezes Gaddafi tourism project, sends aid

* Project included golf course and convention centre

* Spain sends tents, food to Libyan-Tunisian border

* Madrid pledges 300 mln euros in development aid

By Emma Pinedo

MADRID, March 2 (Reuters) - Spain has frozen a tourism project on the Costa del Sol owned by Muammar Gaddafi and is seeking other assets and bank accounts linked to the Libyan leader, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

It said the government was acting in accordance with sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United Nations against Gaddafi, whose military is fighting against a rebellion that has taken control of much of Libya.

Gaddafi planned to build an estimated 2,000 homes, a golf course and a convention centre on the site in Benahavis, near Marbella, the ministry said.

The block on the property means it cannot be used for profit or be sold.

The measures against Gaddafi were reported by the Spanish news agency EFE and the ministry confirmed they had been carried out when contacted by Reuters.

The ministry has also sent an aircraft with 30.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the Libya-Tunisian border where as many as 10,000 refugees fleeing the uprising have arrived.

The United Nations would distribute the material, which included blankets, tents, cooking kits and water storage containers, the Spanish Agency for International Aid for Development told Reuters.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Wednesday Spain was extending a 300 million euro line of credit to the European Investment Bank for economic recovery projects in countries around the Mediterranean affected by unrest in recent weeks.

“Spain’s and Europe’s role must be support and stimulus for societies that are promoting democratic changes and seeking liberty,” Zapatero said at a news conference in Tunisia broadcast live in Spain.

Zapatero was visiting the country’s interim government to support the transition to democracy. More than 100 people were killed in an uprising in Tunisia which ended the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. (Additional reporting by Teresa Larraz and Fiona Ortiz; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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