EU to tighten Libya sanctions, debate military options next week

EU to tighten Libya sanctions, debate military options next week

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 18 /Trend/

European Union sanctions against Libya will be tightened next week, diplomats said Friday, as its member states debate military options to back up the United Nations resolution that approved intervention against Moamer Gaddafi's regime, dpa reported.

EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday will approve extending a travel ban and asset freeze "to about 10 individual and 10 state-controlled entities," including sovereign funds, a senior EU source told the German Press Agency dpa.

Later in the week, EU diplomats will also enforce the travel ban and asset freeze decisions adopted late on Thursday by the UN Security Council, which most notably targeted Libya's National Oil Corporation (NAC).

Both sets of decisions are expected to be implemented by the end of next week, when an EU summit is scheduled to discuss the Libyan crisis.

EU states are divided over participating in military action to enforce the UN request of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya - with France and Britain leading calls for action and Germany firmly against any intervention.

"The most realistic scenario is that a coalition of the willing," involving France, Britain, the United States and Arab League states will take part in the exercise, one EU diplomat said, ruling out any kind of joint EU military action.

Another senior EU diplomat said a meeting of the willing "coalition" may take place in Paris on Saturday.

But the same source said that EU foreign ministers are still likely to debate some common military action on Monday - if not to police the no-fly zone, at least to monitor the arms embargo.

The UN resolution leaves that issue open, calling on member states to act "nationally, or through regional organization or arrangements."

"We should at least examine all the options," he said.

"Things are a lot more open than you may think," another EU diplomat noted, suggesting that Germany's stance may be malleable.

"They abstained on the UN security council resolution. It is not the same as voting in favour, but it is also different to voting against," the source said.

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