LIBYA: U.N. Security Council votes 15-0 to impose sanctions, freeze assets
The United Nations Security Council voted 15-0 Saturday to impose sanctions on Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and his associates. The sanctions freeze the assets of Kadafi, top aides and some family members, and bar them from traveling. They impose an arms embargo on the country, and refer the actions of the Kadafi regime to the International Criminal Court (ICC), an issue that was hotly debated among Security Council members.
The ICC portion of the resolution refers to actions the regime has taken against protesters since Feb. 15. Libya is not party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC, but diplomats hope the Security Council's actions will send a message to Kadafi.
"I hope the message is heard, and heeded, by the regime in Libya," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said in a statement to the council. "I hope it will also bring hope and relief to those still at risk. The sanctions you have imposed are a necessary step to speed the transition to a new system of governance that will have the consent and participation of the people."
The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Libya on Friday. On Saturday, both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Kadafi to step down.
Still, the actions were not without controversy. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Saturday that sanctions would "harm not the administration but the Libyan people." During a televised speech he warned the U.N. to approach the situation in Libya with "conscience, justice and universal human values," rather than with "concerns about oil."
Libyan U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Shalgham had pleaded with the world body to “save” his nation in a speech to the Security Council on Friday. In the speech, he asked the coucil to impose sanctions.
The resolution came amid reports that army units in the eastern part of the country were defecting from the Kadafi regime. Zawiya, a city close to the capital of Tripoli, appeared to be falling to anti-government forces on Sunday.
"As the Libyan people take their destiny into their hands, as is their right, I hope that the new future for which they yearn, peaceful, prosperous and democratic, will soon be theirs," Ban said in his statement.
-- Alana Semuels
Photo: The U.N. Security Council votes Saturday. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images