U.S. slaps sanctions on five senior Libyan officials

10:23, April 09, 2011      

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The United States on Friday slapped sanctions on five senior Libyan government officials including the country's prime minister, and two entities owned or controlled by the children of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The five officials designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury are Prime Minister Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, Oil Minister and Chairman of the National Oil Company of Libya Shukri Ghanem, Secretary of the General People's Committee for Finance and Planning Abdulhafid Zlitni, Director of the Internal Security Office Tohami Khaled, and Gaddafi's Chief of Staff Bashir Salah.

The Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation and the Waatasemu Charity Association were also blacklisted by the Treasury.

As the Treasury put it, the foundation is a Geneva-registered organization founded in Libya in 1998 and incorporated in Switzerland in 2004, but is owned and controlled by Gaddafi's son Saif as its president and a board member, while the Libya-based association is controlled by Gaddafi's daughter Aisha as its secretary-general.

Both Saif and Aisha are under sanctions by the United States along with their father.

"As a result of today's action, any assets of the designees subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in business with them," the Treasury said in a statement.

"We will continue to expose and impose sanctions on senior Libyan government officials who choose to remain at Gaddafi's side, " said David S. Cohen, acting under secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. "They have a choice to make, and we will make that choice as stark as possible."

As the military operation against Libya has become stalemated since its launch on March 19, and the Libyan opposition forces have not made much gains in recent days on the ground under the cover of NATO airstrikes, the United States has been seeking to disintegrate Gaddafi's inner circle from within for his eventual ouster.

U.S. President Barack Obama ordered in late February to freeze the Libyan government's assets. The Treasury said that more than 34 billion U.S. dollars of assets have been frozen to date, and 19 individuals including senior government officials and family members of Gaddafi have been put under U.S. sanctions.

The Treasury on Monday lifted sanctions against former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa, who defected to London on March 30.

Source: Xinhua
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