UNSC slaps sanctions on Libya as Gaddafi remains defiant


Cairo, Feb 27 (PTI) As an unrepentant Muammar Gaddafirefused to heed global calls for an end to violence in Libya,the UN Security Council today unanimously slapped "bitingsanctions" on his regime, including a travel ban and assetfreezes, with US President Barack Obama saying the strongmanmust quit now.

In a desperate bid to quell the unprecedented two-weekrevolt against Gaddafi''s 41-year rule, the Libyan regimepassed out guns to his civilian supporters, set up checkpointsand sent out armed patrols across his bastion of Tripoli,witnesses were quoted as saying by Al-Jazeera.

The development came hours after 68-year-old Gaddafivowed to crush the rebellion against his rule and proposed toarm his supporters.

"We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm thepeople," he said in footage aired on Libyan state TV. "I am inthe middle of the people.. we will fight ... we will defeatthem if they want .. we will defeat any foreign aggression."

Across Libya, protesters braced up for a potentiallylengthy battle to overturn the regime, even as reports saidthe army in several areas had turned hostile to thegovernment.

Footage believed to be filmed yesterday showed soldiersjoining the protesters in the city of Az Zawiyah.

Denouncing the violence against anti-governmentprotesters in Libya, India and 14 other members of thepowerful UN Security Council unanimously voted to imposesanctions on the Gaddafi regime in the form of an armsembargo, asset freezes, travel ban and and an immediatereferral to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC)for crimes against humanity probe.

The vote came amid escalating violence in the NorthAfrican country, with the UN saying that more than 1,000pro-democracy protesters have lost their lives in the brutalcrackdown launched by forces loyal to Gaddafi to crush therevolt against his authoritarian rule.

"We deplore the use of force, which is totallyunacceptable," Hardeep Singh Puri, India''s Ambassador to theUN, said at the Council after the resolution was approved. "Wealso have concerns about the safety of India nationals andtheir assets in Libya," he said.

Susan Rice, the US envoy to the UN, pointed out that thiswas the first time a resolution referring a case to the ICChad passed unanimously.

She said the Council wanted "biting sanctions" targetingLibya''s leadership.

Libya''s former interior minister Gen Abdul Fatteh Younistold Al Jazeera that most of the country is out of control ofthe Gaddafi government and his grip on power may soon beconfined only to the capital Tripoli. (More) PTI KIM

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