U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that imposes unilateral sanctions on Libya, saying continued violence and unrest there poses an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to America’s national security and foreign policy.
The sanctions freeze all assets held by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his three sons, a daughter and members of his administration. The president said the sanctions are designed to target the Gadhafi government, while protecting the assets of the Libyan people.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the U.S. welcomes Friday’s action by the U.N. Human Rights Council
condemning human rights violations and violence committed by the Libyan government against its own people.
The White House says the United States has shuttered its embassy in Libya and is moving forward with sanctions to pressure the government to stop its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Friday that the U.S. has suspended all embassy operations in Tripoli and will temporarily withdraw all embassy employees.
Clinton is due to travel to Geneva Monday to meet with the Human Rights Council to discuss further measures regarding Libya. Clinton also expressed her support for the U.N. decision.
President Obama is expected to meet Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Washington to talk about what legal and diplomatic action can be taken to stop the violence in Libya.