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U.S. aims to release up to $1.5 billion Libya assets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is seeking to release in the coming days between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets to the Libyan rebels, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday.

Nuland said that the money would come from the roughly $30 billion in Libyan assets that the United States froze earlier this year, only about one-tenth of which, or $3 billion, is liquid.

The spokeswoman told reporters at her daily briefing that the United States was working in the U.N. sanctions committee to obtain its blessing to release the frozen assets and that it hoped "this process will be complete in the coming days."

The spokeswoman said the United States was confident that the money would be used properly. "We would not have taken this step if we didn't have confidence that the money would get to the people who need it," she said.

Nuland also said it was clear the Gaddafi regime has nearly collapsed and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday about how the U.N. could give Libya humanitarian relief, security assistance if requested and support on matters such as constitution-writing.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Eric Beech)

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