US imposes sanctions on Gadaffi

World powers struggled to find a way to stop Libyan leader Moammer Gadaffi lashing out at his people as he clings to power in Tripoli, the last big city where an uprising against his rule has yet to take hold.

United States. President Barak Obama signed an order prohibiting transactions related to Libya and blocking property, the first major step to isolate the North African leader, who has used army, police and irregular forces to try to crush the protests.

“By any measure, Moammar Gadaffi’s government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable,” Obama said in a statement on Friday.

Diplomats at the United Nations said a vote on a draft resolution calling for an arms embargo on Libya as well as travel bans and asset freezes on its leaders might come on Saturday after UN chief Ban ki Moon said it could not wait.

Western powers, with whom Gadaffi has exploited Libya’s oil after years of diplomatic isolation, have struggled to keep up with the pace of protests that have swept away Western-backed strongmen in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia already this year.

Tripoli’s streets were eerily quiet overnight, with portraits of Gadaffi adorning street corners and a few police cars patrolling after a day in which residents said pro-Gadaffi forces fired at and over the heads of protesters in many areas. Up to 25 people were said to have been killed in one area alone.

“Peace is coming back to our country,” one of Gadaffi’s sons, Saif al-Islam Gadaffi, told reporters flown into Libya under close supervision.

“If you hear fireworks don’t mistake it for shooting,” the 38-year-old London-educated younger Gadaffi said, smiling.

Source: Mail&Guardian of South Africa and Reuters

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