By Ria Novosti
The European Union’s foreign policy chief has called on Libyan authorities to protect foreign nationals amid mass anti-government riots and ease their departure from the country.
“The EU urges the Libyan authorities to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals, and to facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country,” Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn the violence and use of force against civilians and deplore the repression against peaceful demonstrators which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians,” she said adding that human rights violations are “unacceptable.”
The EU foreign policy chief said the 27-member bloc has decided to suspend talks with Libya on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement and promised to “take further measures” in response to brutal aggression and violence against civilians.
The European Union is mulling possible sanctions against the Libyan authorities following the violent crackdown on protests against longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Some 640 people are believed to have died in clashes with government forces.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has cut short his visit to Los Angeles to return in New York to address the Libyan crisis.
The UN chief had a phone conversation with Gaddafi on Tuesday urging him to “stop violence immediately.”
He also welcomed the decision of the Arab League to suspend Libya saying it is “the first time the League has taken such an action on the domestic situation of one of its members.”