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February 25th, 2011
07:15 PM ET

U.S. announces sanctions against Libya, suspends embassy operations

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. government announced Friday that it will impose sanctions against the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi - part of a series of measures designed to isolate the Libyan regime and loosen the dictator's grip on power.

The American embassy in Libya suspended operations for security reasons, though State Department officials stressed that diplomatic ties were not suspended and channels for discussion remained open.

"The flag is still flying. The embassy is not closed. Operations are suspended. Relations are not broken," Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy told reporters.

State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Janet Sanderson reiterated at the same briefing that Libya's Embassy in Washington is still "up and running," and the department has not been informed of any change in the status of Libya's ambassador to the United States.

"We still continue to reach out to the Libyans where appropriate, both directly and through third parties," Sanderson said.

Kennedy said all American official employees were withdrawn from the embassy Friday, and only Libyan employees are "still on the payroll' and still working there. These remaining employees are not authorized to conduct any U.S. government business, he said.

Local and national security guards remain at the embassy, Kennedy said, but he would not discuss what measures if any are being taken to secure documents and the like inside the embassy.

"But I can assure you that there is nothing left behind that could be compromised," he said.

American operations at the embassy will resume when the security situation permits it, Kennedy said.

In addition to pushing both unilateral and multilateral sanctions, Washington will use the "full extent" of its intelligence capabilities to monitor Gadhafi's regime and gather evidence of atrocities committed against the Libyan people, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Steps were also taken to ensure that top Gadhafi officials don't steal Libyan financial assets in what may be their final days in power. The Treasury Department advised banks to monitor accounts held by the regime's key political figures and to report financial transactions "that could potentially represent misappropriated or diverted state assets," according to a government statement.

Gadhafi's "legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes" of the Libyan people, Carney told reporters. "The status quo is neither tenable nor acceptable."

The point of U.S. action - particularly the sanctions - is to "make it clear that the regime has to stop its abuses" and end the bloodshed, Carney said. Reports from Libya suggest that possibly hundreds of protesters have been killed.

Full story


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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. kathyName*

    Why doesnt the US. stop trying to take care of the whole world, witch they might figure it out some decade?Let them kill their people,might be for the best anyway.US. should take care of US.first.I'm so freaking tired we have to pay for everyone elses troubles.When will we ever get a president that has nerves to say

    February 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  2. Terry

    he needs to step down he kills a thousand people he should be held accountable for his actions.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  3. George Jonas

    Anderson, you are one of my favorites and I cant deny it, you are one of the heroes among other journalists. But I need to correct you on one thing you said about Laurent Kabila. I knew the guy, He was a close friend of my dad and he was just an average person like you. This guy was a truly revolutionary believe or not. he took down the decades rule of puppet and dictator Mobuttu Sesseko of (old) Zaire. He's no way close to Khadafi. Khadafi he is not human! he'd helped dictator Iddi Amin to fight against us (Tanzanian) and kill his own Ugandans. Anyway, I don't want to write a book but there is so much to be told. I feel like Libya is becoming another Rwanda to the US! Im just saying...,
    My People in Libya need the whole World help.

    God Bless Libya, God bless Tanzania, God bless Africa.

    George Jonas,

    February 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  4. Bob Hafemeister

    Why is it that the United States is expected to solve all of the worlds problems.
    Where is Russia and China during the Libyan crisis?

    The US is in a damned if they do and damned if they don't situation.

    We foot the bill from money borrowed from China.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  5. Sowanna Yun Mr.

    We have been always watched your News by TV CNN about situation in Libya unrest.We had reminded in our country during Pol Pot Regime from 1975 – 1979. We thought that Moammar Gaddafi look like Pol Pot to kill their own people around 2 millions. Our suggestion would like NATO and UN and USA reaction to the troops to help people in Libya. It is very very shocking when we have seen Gaddafi killed their own people like Pol Pot army in Cambodia.
    From Cambodia

    February 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  6. Michigan

    It pains me to hear the Libyan man say that the US people only care anout the oil and the prices. I have been glued to the TV since that man started himself on fire... I have prayed for them, cheered them on, and cried at the loss and turmoil they are experiancing. I am grateful for the reporting by CNN, while others have lost interst. I care about these people half way around the world... I want them to succeed, to be happy, to have a free country.
    It's NOT JUST ABOUT THE OIL!! We want you to have freedom, basic human rights and to choose your own destiny. Ypu have all inspired me.. a country and the rest of the world.. Open your hearts to us, as we have for you. Meet us half way.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  7. Amir

    HOw many embassies are we speaking about . Just the one right because it;s unilateral. I think..... You and jill should have the prime time............for real. OOhh wait your studio's are miles apart. Well it was a good thought. THe australian had a good story but i think it's about to be debunked...lolo

    February 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  8. Joanne Tawfilis

    CNN must find a way to let the Libyan people know that we private citizens are sitting on the edge of our seats caring about the safety and welfare of the Libyan people, not the oil. This is something that bothers me with others around the world who see us as only people with selfish interests. We have hearts and souls and are truly concerned about what is happening to the people there under Ghadfi's terror.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  9. andrew Gharzeddine

    Despite the refusal of Libyans of foreign intervention, what is needed is an immediate enforcement of a no-fly zone and sustained bombings of his compound and other targets by the west as this can drag on for a very long time with an increased risk of chaos and possible partition .

    February 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  10. Kate

    Anderson, good evening. I watched The Situation Room today and sat crying after hearing the man in Tripoli tell about his 2 brothers and 2 neighbors being killed. I doubt any of us can imagine the suffering of this one poor man and appreciate the magnitude of suffering in all of Tripoli. Then Gadhafi tells the people to dance. President Obama acted as soon as the ferry and plane left Libya.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  11. Araya

    Dear Mr. cooper,

    I'm very happy by the job you and your coworkers are doing to expose dictators. I have a very important message that I would like you to pass to the western leaders.
    We all know that the Libyan people are facing extinction if the world didn't act right now. Many sources have already confirmed that there are over 1000 civilians shot dead by Gadafi loyalist and African mercenaries. However, Libya has been a route for many African migrants to Europe and there thousands stuck in the country right now. Eritrean migrants only are estimated between 3000-5000. Those migrants are hiding for the past a week or so fearing for their lives and they are running out of food and water. What worries me is even after the Gedafi’s regime is gone; the Libyan people have resentment against Africans and may retaliate against innocent migrants because it is hard to distinguish between the mercenaries and migrants and this will double/triple the causalities. So the world needs to act right now first and foremost to stop Gadafi’s from committing mass murder and prevent retaliation against migrants.

    Thanks in advance for cooperation.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    Finally! The sanctions and the withdrawal of our embassy staff (American staff) is a good solid step forward on this and safeguards our people as well. It has been worrisome with the embassy personnel still in the country as there is never any prediction of what Gadhafi in his madness might do. Now we can watch from the sidelines and provide humanitarian aid when it is needed while the Libyan people take their government back and install a new one. I hope Gadhafi is gone soon for everyone's sake.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm |