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UN raises new flag for Libya

The pre-Gaddafi Libyan flag flies in front of the United Nations headquarters Keystone

The United Nations in Geneva has decided to display a new flag representing Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

In the presence of Libyan UN ambassador Ibrahim Aldredi, the green, black and red flag was hoisted on Tuesday. A small group of Libyans gathered and sang Libya’s new national anthem.

On Friday, the UN’s general assembly decided to recognise the NTC as the official representative of Libya. According to a UN spokeswoman, the flag was raised at the request of the Libyan authorities.

The new flag features a half-moon and a star, and was already the national flag of Libya from 1951-1969. It replaces the green flag of the Moammar Gaddafi regime.

Meanwhile, Swiss Foreign Minister and President Micheline Calmy-Rey, currently attending a high-level UN conference on Libya in New York, has called for funds frozen as part of sanctions against Libya to be given back to the Libyan people.

This would help the new leaders build a political system suited to the needs of the people, Calmy-Rey was quoted on the Swiss news agency as saying.

Earlier this month the United Nations Security Council gave the Swiss authorities the green light to return SFr350 million ($399 million) of blocked funds to Libya for humanitarian needs. Other funds remained blocked.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR