Libya's central bank and a subsidiary are expected to have U.N. sanctions against them lifted on Friday in a move to ease a cash crunch since the country's civil war ended, diplomats said on Wednesday.
They said the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB), an offshore institution wholly owned by the central bank, would be taken off the Security Council's sanctions list unless there were objections from council members.
When a rebellion broke out in February against leader Muammar Gaddafi, the Security Council froze Libyan assets abroad estimated at $150 billion, but the bulk of that sum remains beyond the reach of the oil-rich country's new rulers.
By late November only about $18 billion in seized assets had been released by special provisions of the Security Council's Libya sanctions committee, and diplomats said only about $3 billion of that had been made available to Tripoli.
Last week, senior figures in Libya's new leadership wrote the committee asking it to delist the central bank and LFB. Sanctions against the two bodies and two Libyan investment authorities had been eased but not fully lifted in September.
Frustration at the delay in releasing the assets has been growing inside Libya, where the interim government says it urgently needs the cash to pay the wages of public sector workers and to start re-building state institutions.
The freezing of Libyan assets was part of a package of sanctions intended to put pressure on Gaddafi's administration to stop attacking civilian protesters.