KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait will contribute 50 million Kuwaiti dinars ($177.2 million) to Libya’s rebel council to help pay salaries in the breakaway east of the country, a rebel leader said on Sunday.
“His Highness the Emir gave us a financial grant valued at 50 million Kuwaiti dinar. This amount will help us a lot in paying the salaries of employees who did not receive their little salaries for two months,” said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the Libyan rebel national council.
“We are capable of only covering 40 percent of this amount. We are in need of urgent aid,” he told a Kuwait news conference.
On April 4, Kuwait became the second Arab state after Qatar to officially recognize the Libyan rebel forces.
Abdel Jalil said the rebels had also received weapons from “friends and allies,” but did not specify which countries or organizations had donated them.
“We requested light and medium arms, and we received some from our friends and allies which have enabled us to free Misrata now,” he said.
Western countries, reluctant to be further dragged into a conflict in a third Muslim country after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been unwilling to arm the rebels.
Britain and France have said they will send military advisors and Italy is considering sending military trainers, but Abdel Jalil said no military advisors had yet arrived in Libya.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi bombarded Misrata on Sunday, a day after rebels celebrated the pullback of government troops from the western Libyan city, a rebel spokesman said.
U.S. Senator John McCain on Friday urged President Barack Obama’s administration to recognize the Libyan rebel national council as the country’s rightful government and transfer frozen Libyan assets to them.
Reporting by Eman Goma; Writing by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Sophie Hares