The head of the Libyan national unity government on Wednesday accused Belgium of seeking to confiscate the assets of his country, frozen by the United Nations since 2011.
“We have a problem with Belgium,” Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah said during a cabinet meeting.
âThe Belgian authoritiesâ¦ are once again trying to seize Libyan funds in Belgium.
He said Belgium had requested permission from the UN Security Council sanctions committee to seize the funds.
The United Nations Security Council placed Libya’s foreign assets in receivership during the country’s uprising in 2011 against longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, to prevent possible theft.
The Gaddafi regime had built up a large portfolio of assets across the world, including around 14 billion euros ($ 15 billion) in Belgium.
His fall and assassination by the rebels sparked years of legal wrangling between those states and Libya.
The funds in Belgium are the subject of a dispute which also involves the Belgian Prince Laurent, brother of King Philippe.
The prince demanded compensation from Libya after his charity, the Global Sustainable Development Trust, invested tens of millions of euros in a reforestation project that never came to fruition due to the fall of Gaddafi.
“I call on Belgium to respect Libya,” said Dbeibah.
âWe want to protect and defend our money.
He said a Libyan delegation would travel to Brussels to try to settle the case.
Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, but a decade of conflict has left many of its citizens in poverty and created a permanent liquidity crisis.