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US Slaps Sanctions Against Libya

Washington, Feb 26 :  President Barack Obama has announced unilateral sanctions against Libya freezing the assets in the US of Muammar Gaddafi, his family and loyalists."By any measure, Muammar el-Gaddafi's government has violated international norms
PTI February 26, 2011 13:20 IST
PTI
Washington, Feb 26 :  President Barack Obama has announced unilateral sanctions against Libya freezing the assets in the US of Muammar Gaddafi, his family and loyalists."By any measure, Muammar el-Gaddafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable," Obama said in a statement after he issued an executive order in this regard late last night.

"These sanctions therefore target the Gaddafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya," he said.The executive order issued by him blocks the property and interests in property of a number of individuals including the family members of the 68-year-old Libyan leader, officials of the Libyan Government and those responsible for human rights violations in that country.

The Libyan government's continued violation of human rights, brutalisation of its people and outrageous threats have rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of the international community, he said.

The US has been asking international community to act selectively against Gadaffi regime for its brutalities against anti-regime protestors.

Obama said, the US will continue to closely coordinate its actions with the international community, including its friends and allies and the United Nations.

"We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights, and a government that is responsive to their aspirations. Their human dignity cannot be denied," Obama said.

In a letter to the Speaker of the US House of Representative and Senate President, Obama said that the actions of Gaddafi, his government, and close associates
constitute an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

"The order declares a national emergency to deal with this threat," Obama said.Obama's Executive Order blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Libya.

"I further find that there is a serious risk that Libyan state assets will be misappropriated by Gaddafi,members of his government, members of his family, or his close
associates if those assets are not protected," the executive order said.

"The foregoing circumstances, the prolonged attacks,and the increased numbers of Libyans seeking refuge in other countries from the attacks have caused a deterioration in the security of Libya and pose a serious risk to its stability,thereby constituting an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat," the order said. 

Going ahead with unilateral sanctions against the Muammar Gaddafi regime, the US today suspended its military ties with Libya and temporarily closed down its embassy in Tripoli.

Toughening its stand against the authoritarian Libyan government, White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, said more measures against Libya are in the pipeline and would be announced in due course of time.

The US is also in talks with its international partners with regard to collective action against the Libyan regime including those at the United Nations."There has never been a time when this much has been done quickly," Carney said, adding that the US which has very limited military relationship with Libya and also very limited

military sales with them, both of which have been suspended."Col Gaddafi has lost the confidence of his people.His legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes of his people," Carney said but was quick to add that it is a matter for the people of Libya to decide on the leadership of the country.

"The status quo is not acceptable," Carney said. The US President, Barack Obama, would meet the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday, he said.

"Given current security conditions in Libya, coupled with our inability to guarantee fully the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel in the country, the Department of State has temporarily withdrawn Embassy personnel from Tripoli and suspended all embassy operations effective February 25,2011," State Department spokesman P J Crowley said.

Additionally, the United States has suspended the very limited military cooperation it had with Libya.The US military began to cautiously reengage with Libya in 2009 following Libya's decision to halt its weapons of mass destruction programs and compensate victims of terrorism, he said.

Prior to the recent unrest, sales of spare military parts were pending, he said adding that they have been frozen."Bilateral military events that were in the planning
phases have also been frozen," Carney said.

The UN Human Rights Council held an emergency session today in Geneva, where it adopted by consensus a resolution that condemned the gross and systematic human
rights abuses now being committed by the government of Libya,established an international commission of inquiry to investigate these abuses, and recommended accountability measures for those responsible and also recommended that the UN.

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will travel to Geneva on Monday to speak at the Human Rights Council and to discuss with her international counterparts further
measures on Libya as well as events in the broader Middle East.

On Monday, Obama will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington, and will discuss the diplomatic,legal and other actions needed to put a stop to violence against civilians in Libya.

"He will also discuss the range of activities that UN agencies and the international community can undertake to address the significant humanitarian needs created by this crisis," Carney said.

The United States is involved in ongoing negotiations today at the UNSC Security Council, on a resolution that could include a weapons embargo, individual sanctions against key Libyan officials, and an asset freeze.

The US is also utilizing the full extent of its intelligence capabilities to monitor the Gaddafi regime's actions, and are particularly vigilant for evidence of further violence or atrocities committed against the Libyan people, Carney said. PTI