UPDATE 1-Sarkozy urges Europe to suspend Libyan economic ties

Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:49pm GMT

* Asks Europe to adopt sanctions, asset freeze, travel bans

* Sarkozy says world cannot just stand by and watch

* Libyan imports in 2009 worth more than $3 bln, mostly oil

(Adds quotes, adviser's comment, background)

By John Irish

PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on Wednesday for Europe to suspend all economic ties with Libya and to adopt sanctions against the North African country which is brutally suppressing opposition protests.

"I ask the foreign minister to propose to our European partners the adoption of quick, concrete sanctions so that all those implicated in the violence know that they will have to assume the consequences," Sarkozy said in a statement after a weekly cabinet meeting.

"I would like the suspension of economic, commercial and financial relations with Libya until further notice," he said.

In 2009, France's exports to Libya were worth about $1 billion and imports from Libya about $3.1 billion, mostly oil and oil products, making it Libya's No. 3 export market after Italy and Germany, the foreign ministry said.   Continued...

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