May 5, 2011 / 10:53 AM / in 7 years

U.S. explores tapping some of blocked Gaddafi assets

ROME, May 5 (Reuters) - The White House hopes to change U.S. law to allow it to use some of the more than $30 billion in frozen Gaddafi regime U.S. assets to help the Libyan people, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

“I‘m pleased to announce that the Obama Administration, working with Congress, has decided to pursue legislation that would enable the U.S. to tap some portion of those assets owned by Gaddafi and the Libyan government in the United States, so we can make those funds available to help the Libyan people,” she said in prepared remarks released by the State Department.

Clinton spoke at a meeting of the so-called Libya Contact Group in Rome.

If the law were changed, it appeared the Obama administration would have access to the funds but it was unclear whether it might give them to the Libyan opposition or dedicate them to humanitarian groups to help Libyans displaced by the fighting.

Insurgents trying to topple Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after 41 years in power had hoped for a swift victory, akin to the ousting of the leaders of neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia by popular uprisings but the military struggled has ground to a stalemate. (Reporting by Arshad Mohammed)

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