DOHA – The United Nations chief openedan international meeting on Libya Wednesdaywith a grim assessment of the humanitarian falloutfrom the conflict, CNN reports.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Araband African diplomats and their NATO counterpartsthat in a worst-case scenario, as many as3.6 million strife-affected people could eventuallyrequire help. And the money to provide thathelp is slow in coming, he said.
So far the United Nations has seen only 39percent of the $310 million it requested inemergency funding, “clearly insufficient giventhe prospective need,” Ban said.
“It is critical that the international communityact in concert, that we speak with onevoice, and that we continue to work in commoncause on behalf of the Libyan people,” hetold delegates at a Libyan Contact Group meetingin Doha. The international delegates plan tomeet with Libyan opposition leaders in anattempt to work out a peaceful end to the deadlyimpasse in the North African nation. Despitea NATO-led aerial campaign and rebels fightingon the ground, leader Moammar Gadhafihas shown no signs of acquiescing.
Among the high-profile attendees in Dohais Gadhafi’s former intelligence chief and foreignminister, Moussa Koussa, who fled toBritain last month. It’s unclear how oppositionleaders will receive Koussa’s efforts in Doha.
On Tuesday, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputychairman of Libya’s Transitional NationalCouncil, did not explicitly reject the idea ofmeeting Koussa but said such a meeting was“not on the agenda.”
The Libyan Contact Group was formedafter a London conference on Libya lastmonth. The first meeting in Doha comes ascivilian casualties continue to mount. Thebesieged western city of Misrata has beenespecially vulnerable. Gadhafi’s tanks havebeen pounding Misrata, where Tuesday, adoctor reported at least 10 people were killedand 30 were wounded. British ForeignSecretary William Hague and French ForeignMinister Alain Juppe both called Tuesday forNATO to get more aggressive in Libya, andGhoga urged the international community toimplement a U.N. Security Council resolutionthat called for “all necessary measures toprotect civilians under threat of attack.”Ghoga told CNN that the opposition hassubmitted a wish list of military equipment toQatar and France. He said the list was compiledby rebel military leaders, but he didn’tknow exactly what was being requested. In aninterview last week, Ghoga indicated thatweapons were on their way to Libya.
The Doha meeting follows an effort earlierthis week by the African Union to forgea peace plan that had been accepted in principleby Gadhafi.