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US Freezes $ 30 Billion Assets Of Gaddafi

Washington, Mar 1 : Stepping up pressure on the Libyan rulers, the United States today announced to freeze $ 30 billion in assets of the Gaddafi regime, as the European Union mulled imposing a no-fly

PTI Updated on: March 01, 2011 13:29 IST
us freezes 30 billion assets of gaddafi
us freezes 30 billion assets of gaddafi

Washington, Mar 1 : Stepping up pressure on the Libyan rulers, the United States today announced to freeze $ 30 billion in assets of the Gaddafi regime, as the European Union mulled imposing a no-fly zone and Pentagon moved its naval and air forces near the North African country.

"As of today, at least USD 30 billion in government of Libya assets under US jurisdiction have been blocked. This is the largest blocking under any sanctions program ever," David Cohen, the Acting Undersecretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, told reporters after announcing the freeze of assets.

The Treasury moves comes days after President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on the Gaddafi regime, which has been allegedly using lethal force against its own people.

Cohen said there was no indication that the Libyan Government had tried to liquidate a significant amount of its assets.

"On Friday, we froze the assets of Libya's leaders, and on Monday, USD 30 billion -- an unprecedented quantity of resources have been seized in just over the last several days," US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told reporters at a White House news conference.

"On Saturday, the Security Council with the US and leadership of others moved at a speed that is, I can tell you from my experience, almost unheard of, to pass unanimously a resolution that not only imposed a travel ban, an assets freeze, and arms embargo, but referred the situation in Libya for the first time on a unanimous basis to the International Criminal Court," she said.

"What we're trying to do is to send a message to those around him that the cost is getting intolerable, that if you want to get out and end the bloodshed, you need to move now. And I think that would be a powerfully delivered message by the Europeans. And also, we are looking at all other options,"

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview to National Public Radio.

"The decision made by NATO at the North Atlantic Council a few days ago was to direct the military command, the supreme commander in Europe, to begin prudent planning. And that runs across a full range of potential options. So there's a lot going on," she said.

Clinton said the US has been speaking to its European colleagues because they have a much greater connection with Libya than it does.

"They have many more economic relationships. They have many more of the assets of the Gaddafi family that are being located in Europe. So they're going to be announcing their own sanctions, and I don't want to jump the gun on them. They get to do that for themselves. But I think it will further increase the pressure," she said.

In Washington, UN secretary Ban Ki-moon said, Gaddafi regime in Libya has lost its legitimacy to rule as it has declared war on its own people.

"In Libya, a regime that has lost legitimacy has declared war on its own people. It is up to us, the community of nations, to stand against this crime," Ban said in his remarks at the Holocaust Museum here.

"From Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrain to Yemen and beyond, the region's people are demanding new rights and new freedoms. From the beginning, I have called on leaders in the region to heed the voices of their people, to respect their right of free speech and free assembly," he said.

"Above all, I have called for non violence. That is why we are here today to send a message, to make a stand in the name of humanity," Ban said in his address after he met US President Barack Obama at the White House.

"President Obama and I discussed options before us. I thanked President Obama for his firm and decisive leadership.  We agreed that the international community must stand firmly together during this historic transition toward a more democratic, secure and prosperous Middle East," he said.

Ban said he would continue to consult widely with world leaders on the next steps.He commended the Human Rights Council for its unanimous recommendation to suspend Libya until the violence stops and welcomed its call for an independent international investigation.

Ban urged all Member States of the United Nations to act decisively in the General Assembly tomorrow."At this critical moment, at this pivotal point in history, let us remember: 'Never  again' is for all people, in  all places. We must write a new history for humankind," he said. PTI

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