Benghazi (Libya): Libya's cash-strapped rebels, facing a long and uncertain fight to recover assets frozen abroad, called on foreign donors to back new loans using the blocked cash as collateral.

With no money to pay for salaries or imports, Mazen Ramadan, an economic advisor to the National Transitional Council (NTC), said a solution must be found to tap cash abroad, including the more than USD 30 billion frozen in the United States alone.

"This whole asset unfreezing thing is going to take a while," he told a news agency from his office in Benghazi.

"We are working with a lot of people but it seems like a time consuming process, and we need the money."

"We proposed a mechanism to perhaps get loans on the frozen assets and then use this mechanism to ensure transparency."

He did not say whether Western nations, which face major legal obstacles to releasing the frozen assets, had embraced the idea, but the European Union is said to be considering it.

Asked about the NTC's current bank balance Ramadan said bluntly, "We don't have any money."

He said salaries for past month had not yet been paid and that power shortages in the east of the country were being caused by the lack of funds.

"We think of this war here as having multiple front lines. We are on the financial front line and we are losing badly and it seems like our friends have not noticed."

Although Libya's rebels got USD 100 million earlier this month, Ramadan said, "it is a small amount relative to what we owe, fuel shipments are more than that."

"We definitely have a serious problem," he added. British Foreign Secretary William Hague earlier Wednesday confirmed the rebels had received USD 100 million for fuel and salaries.

The rebels, fighting to overthrow Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, have complained that they have received a fraction of the roughly USD 1 billion promised by international donors.

(Agencies)