US imposes sanctions on Libya; Obama cites rights abuses
The United States late Friday imposed unilateral economic and weapons sanctions on Libya's government for its ongoing crackdown on protesters, dpa reported.
US President Barack Obama cited the Libyan government's "continued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people and outrageous threats."
"By any measure, [leader Moamer Gaddafi's] government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable," Obama said in a statement.
The White House earlier in the day announced that sanctions were being drawn up but did not give details.
"We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights and a government that is responsive to their aspirations," Obama said. "Their human dignity cannot be denied."
The sanctions target the assets and property of the Gaddafi government, its senior officials, Gaddafi's children and Libyans who have ordered or participated in "the commission of human rights abuses related to political repression in Libya," according to an official letter sent by Obama to the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also suspended all licenses and approvals for exporting "defence articles and services" to Libya, Obama said in the letter.
Obama noted in his public statement that the assets that belong to the people of Libya would be protected.
Obama said the US would closely coordinate its actions with the international community. On Saturday, the UN Security Council is to consider international sanctions that could include an arms embargo and travel ban and freezing of the assets of the Gaddafi regime.