30 billion dollars in Libyan assets frozen in US
The United States has frozen at least 30 billion dollars in Libyan assets since enacting sanctions to punish embattled leader Moamer Gaddafi for the violent crackdown on protesters, a US official said Monday.
David Cohen, the Treasury Department's acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the financial action was the largest of its kind in US history, dpa reported.
US President Barack Obama on Friday ordered sanctions on Gaddafi and his government, and the Treasury Department was prepared to swifty implement the measures, Cohen said.
"I can report that as of today at least 30 billion (dollars) in government of Libya assets under US jurisdiction have been blocked as a result of the executive order issued by President Obama," Cohen said. "This is the largest blocking under any sanctions programme ever."
The European Union announced Monday it was enacting sanctions on Libya. Obama has been in close touch with European leaders to coordinate the international response to the bloodshed in Libya as Gaddafi clings to power.
Obama met Monday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for discussions on the crisis in Libya, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, told reporters at the White House.
Rice said Gaddafi was "delusional" about the reality in Libya after the leader appeared on BBC, saying that everything was under control in the country and that the Libyan people "love" him and will "die to protect me."
"It sounds just, frankly, delusional," Rice said accusing Gaddafi of "slaughtering his own people."
"It only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality," she said.
Meanwhile, the US military is positioning forces in the region near Libya in case they are needed, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday, according to reports.
Colonel Dave Lapan said naval and air forces were being repositioned as part of contingency plans as the United States continues to weigh options for responding to the crisis in Libya, ABC News reported. Lapan did not provide details.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday in Geneva that the military was preparing for possible humanitarian missions, and that setting up a no-fly zone was discussed in her meetings with diplomats on the sidelines of a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting.
"We will continue to explore all possible options for action," she said. "As we have said, nothing is off the table so long as the Libyan government continues to threaten and kill Libyans."
ABC News also reported the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier was stationed in the Red Sea and could be used to enforce a no-fly zone.