EU imposes sanctions on Libyan regime

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Muammar Gaddafi
Berlin, Apr 13: The European Union has tightened its sanctions against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi by blocking his regime's vital oil revenues, which are used to finance his fighting against the opposition groups.

The foreign ministers of the 27-nation EU at their one-day meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, ordered to freeze the accounts of 26 Libyan oil and gas companies in European banks.

They also offered to provide military support, including the deployment of ground forces, to protect humanitarian relief supplies for the civilian population caught up in the fighting if the United Nations asks for it.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said after the meeting that the new sanctions were a "de facto oil and gas embargo" against the government in Tripoli.

They are intended to cut off the regime's source of funds for its war efforts, he told journalists.

The EU had slashed its first sanctions against Gaddafi's regime in March shortly after the popular uprising against the Gaddafi regime broke out and the measures announced at that time included freezing of the bank accounts in Europe of Gaddafi and his clans.

In addition, the EU also froze the bank accounts of several financial institutions in Libya.

The foreign minister offered Germany's readiness to provide military support to protect United Nations' aid convoys in Libya, but there is no change in the country's position that it will not participate in the current NATO-led military operation to enforce a no-fly zone.

Deployment of German ground forces cannot be ruled out if the country provides military support to protect humanitarian assistance, he said.

Germany was sharply criticised by some of its EU and NATO partners for abstaining in last month's voting on a UN Security council resolution authorising the use of force to protect the civilian population in Libya.

The government in Berlin defended its decision saying that it abstained because it did not want to get involved in the fighting.

PTI

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