U.S. slaps sanctions on Gaddafi's nine associates

12:24, March 12, 2011      

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The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on nine persons close to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi including his wife and the defense minister in an effort to beef up pressure on the Libyan government.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that the newly designated nine individuals include senior officials of the Libyan government as well as Gaddafi's wife Safia Farkash and four children, and the step aims to "increase pressure" on Gaddafi and his government.

Among the officials are Defense Minister Abu Bakr Yunis Jabir, Secretary General of the People's Committee for Public Works Matuq Mohammad Matuq, Director of Libya's External Security Organization Abu Zayd Umar Dorda and Director of Military Intelligence Abdullah Al-Senussi, the department said.

"Today's designation should send a strong signal to those responsible for the violence inflicted by Gaddafi and his government that the United States will continue steps to increase pressure and to hold them accountable," said Acting Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.

President Barack Obama ordered on Feb. 25 to freeze the assets of the Libyan government and slap sanctions on Gaddafi and his four sons, with more than 32 billion U.S. dollars worth of assets frozen to date, the department said.

Libya is witnessing the largest-ever unrest in the nation for the past four decades, which first broke out on Feb. 16 in the eastern city of Benghazi. The massive protests demanding Gaddafi end his 42-year rule have escalated into violent clashes between anti-government protesters and pro-Gaddafi troops.

Source: Xinhua

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