By Ria Novosti
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday signed an Executive Order regarding sanctions against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his government and family, and sent a letter to Congress on the matter.
“I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, find that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, his government, and close associates have taken extreme measures against the people of Libya, including by using weapons of war, mercenaries, and wanton violence against unarmed civilians,” the Executive Order reads.
“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,” it said. “I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”
In line with the order, all property and bank accounts of Gaddafi, his government and four relatives are blocked, and a ban is introduced on all banking operations with the Libyan government.
According to international organizations, at least 2,000 people have been killed and thousands wounded in clashes with government forces since protests against Gaddafi’s regime began on February 15.
“Additionally, the Secretary of State is suspending all existing licenses and other approvals for the export of defense articles and services to Libya,” Obama’s letter to Congress reads.
White House spokesman Jay Carney discussed the sanctions earlier on Friday.
“Consistent with the president’s tasking to the government to prepare options to hold the Libyan government accountable for its violation of human rights, we have decided to move forward with unilateral sanctions,” he said.
The UN Security Council may adopt sanctions against Libya aimed at stopping the bloodshed in the country on Saturday, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, said Friday.
The Council agreed to meet Saturday to urgently consider a draft resolution, “including specific targeted measures aimed at putting an end to violence, helping achieve a peaceful solution to the current crisis, ensuring accountability and respecting the will of the Libyan people,” Viotti told journalists.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Security Council on Friday to promptly consider specific steps against Gaddafi’s government for its clampdown on protesters, with options ranging from sanctions to assured punishment.