The newly-minted banknotes, printed in the UK, were part of a stock of 1.86bn Libyan dinars frozen under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 at the start of the crisis in Libya to prevent them falling into the hands of the Gaddafi regime. The money was unfrozen by the UN on Monday, 29 August 2011.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said that the banknotes will be used to pay the wages of Libyan public sector employees, including nurses, doctors, teachers and police officers; provide support for those on social security who have not been paid for a number of months; provide aid for refugees displaced by the conflict and pay for medicines and subsidies for food supplies; they will also be transferred to commercial banks in order to make currency available to the general public for their basic living expenses.
Mr Hague added that this is particularly important at the time of Eid ul-Fitr, the Islamic festival which follows the end of Ramadan.
Wing Commander David Manning, Officer Commanding 99 Squadron RAF, which made the cash delivery to Libya, said:
I am pleased that we have been able to find the capacity to contribute to the stabilisation effort in Libya by delivering this much needed financial support. Whilst this is certainly an unusual load, the task yet again highlights the utility of the C-17s and flexibility of the crews of Number 99 Squadron in supporting the United Kingdom’s military and political interests abroad.
See Related Links for video footage of the operation.
Returning money to the Libyan people is part of the UK’s commitment to help the National Transitional Council rebuild Libya and help create a country where the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Libyan people can be met.
Further deliveries of the remaining funds will be made shortly.
Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
I am pleased that the RAF was able to assist in the delivery of these banknotes - another example of the highly professional approach all three of our Armed Forces have been taking to support the Libyan people at this time.
The UK Armed Forces were in action by sea and by air again yesterday against those elements of Colonel Gaddafi’s former regime which continue to threaten the people of Libya.
RAF aircraft conducted intensive patrols yesterday morning over Waddan and Bani Walid. At Waddan, two tanks, a pair of multiple rocket launchers and an artillery support vehicle were destroyed before dawn with Paveway guided bombs, while at Bani Walid two formations of our aircraft targeted a large barracks.
Numerous military targets within the barracks were destroyed by Paveways, as well as a tank and a rocket launcher deployed in the same area.
At sea, HMS Liverpool last night closed with pro-Gaddafi coastal positions in and around Sirte and fired illumination barrages of star shells over two vehicle checkpoints. These had the dual effect of confirming the location of the military positions and having a psychological impact on the troops manning them, who were seen to rapidly disperse their vehicles.
In Paris today, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are co-chairing an international conference to discuss Libya. Members of the National Transitional Council are attending.
The meeting is an opportunity to help the National Transitional Council (NTC) on the path to establishing a free, democratic and inclusive Libya. It will also be an opportunity for the NTC to set out in more detail the humanitarian and broader assistance it needs.