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Libya Rebels Win Aid Pledges

A portrait of Muammar Qaddafi is placed outside the destroyed premises of the General People's Congress after it was targeted by a NATO air strike in Tripoli on June 6.
Libyan rebels have received pledges of more than $500 million in aid at a meeting of Western and Arab nations in Abu Dhabi to focus on plans for a post-Muammar Qaddafi Libya.

The Libya Contact Group meeting in Abu Dhabi brings together U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives from France and Britain and Arab allies including Qatar, Kuwait, and Jordan.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, said Italy would give the rebels up to 400 million euros ($586 million) in cash and fuel aid backed by frozen Libyan assets.

Rebel Oil and Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni said the Benghazi-based leadership hoped to restart production of up to 100,000 barrels a day "soon," without specifying a time frame.

The meeting follows heavy NATO bombardment of targets in Tripoli this week aimed at further weakening Qaddafi's grip on power and the ability of his forces to attack civilians and rebel fighters.

At the United Nations meanwhile the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said its investigators had found evidence linking Qaddafi to a policy of raping opponents.

compiled from agency reports