US slaps sanctions on Libya as UNSC, EU mull tough measures

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Lalit K Jha and K Mammen Mathew

Washington/Berlin, Feb 26 (PTI) Piling up pressure on theGaddafi regime, the US has slapped unilateral sanctions onLibya freezing assets of the strongman, his kin and loyalists,as the UNSC and EU actively mulled tough measures againstTripoli in the wake of its brutal crackdown on anti-governmentprotesters.

In his most aggressive action against Libya since theunprecedented revolt against Muammar Gaddafi''s 41-year rulebegan nearly two weeks ago, US President Barack Obama issuedan executive order last night announcing unilateral sanctionson the country.

"By any measure, Muammar el-Gaddafi''s government hasviolated international norms and common decency and must beheld accountable," Obama said in a statement after he issuedthe executive order.

"These sanctions therefore target the Gaddafigovernment, while protecting the assets that belong to thepeople of Libya," he said.

The executive order blocks the property and interests inproperty of a number of individuals, including the familymembers of Gaddafi, officials of the Libyan government andthose responsible for human rights violations in that country.

Obama''s move came house after the White House announcedthat the US had suspended military ties with Libya and closeddown its embassy in Tripoli.

The Libyan government''s continued violation of humanrights, brutalisation of its people and outrageous threatshave rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of theinternational community, Obama said.

In New York, India and 14 other members of the UNSecurity Council agreed to hold yet another meeting of thepowerful body soon to consider sanctions against the Gaddafiregime in Libya to end the bloody crackdown by forces loyal tohim against anti-government protesters.

The Council would consider a draft resolution,"including specific targeted measures aimed at putting an endto violence, helping achieve a peaceful solution to thecurrent crisis, ensuring accountability and respecting thewill of the Libyan people," the UNSC President for this month,Brazilian Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, said.

The Council''s decision to hold another meeting on Libyacame after UN chief Ban Ki-moon asked it to take "concreteaction" against Gaddafi''s regime in Libya to stop his forces''crackdown against anti-government protesters.

The loss of time means more loss of lives, Ban warned,insisting that any delay would add to the death toll which hasalready crossed 1,000.

The 27-nation European Union, meanwhile, reachedconsensus on imposing tough sanctions on Libya and is expectedto strike an agreement in this regard next week. (More) PTILKJ/CORR/BS

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