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Africa
Gaddafi sees global assets frozen
Nations around the world move to block billions of dollars worth of assets belonging to Libyan leader and his family.
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2011 12:33 GMT
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's son, is said to have purchased this London house [GALLO/GETTY]

Nations around the world are moving to freeze the assets of Muammar Gaddafi in an attempt to pressure the Libyan leader to stand down.

Britain on Sunday became the latest country to freeze billions of dollars worth of investments including those of Gaddafi's children, and lifted his diplomatic immunity.

"We are now putting serious pressure on this regime," David Cameron, the British prime minister, said on Sunday.

"The travel ban and the asset freeze are the measures we are taking against the regime to show just how isolated they are."

The British government has also barred the export of uncirculated Libyan banknotes from Britain without a licence, amid reports that there have been attempts to move around $1.5bn in uncirculated Libyan banknotes out of the UK.

Germany said on Monday it was proposing a 60-day freeze on all financial payments to Libya in a bid to stop funds from reaching Gaddafi.

"We are therefore working to ensure that all financial flows are cut off," Guido Westerwelle, the German finance minister said.

Canada also made moves on Sunday to freeze the assets of Gaddafi and his family, and to halt financial transactions between Ottawa and the government in Tripoli.

"Far from protecting the Libyan people against peril, he [Gaddafi] is the root cause of the dangers they face," Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, said in a televised statement.

"It is clear that the only acceptable course of action for him is to halt the bloodshed and to immediately vacate his position and authority," he said.

US sanctions

The moves by Britain and Canada came after the US announced it was placing sanctions on Libya. Barack Obama, the president, signed an executive order on Friday freezing any financial assets tied to Gaddafi's government that were held by US banks and institutions throughout the world.

"The Libyan government's continued violation of human rights, brutalisation of its people, and outrageous threats have rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of the international community," Obama said in a statement.

"These sanctions therefore target the Gaddafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya."

Switzerland has also frozen the assets of Gaddafi and his family, condemning the use of violence by Libyan forces against civilians.

Australia has also said it is investigating claims that the Libyan leader has stashed millions of dollars in the country.

Kevin Rudd, the country's foreign minister, said it was time for Gaddafi to step down.

"For the sake of humanity, go now!'' he said, comparing the leader's actions to genocides in Rwanda, Srebrenica and Darfur.

"One of the reasons the Australian government acted early with unilateral autonomous sanctions against the [Gaddafi] regime was to ensure we can now begin legal processes for establishing whether any financial assets are held in Australia," Rudd told public broadcaster ABC.

"I'm not advised as to whether there are such assets or not, but such an examination is now under way," Rudd said.

Source:
Agencies
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