France, UK draft sanctions text on Libya violence

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:44am GMT

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council plans to meet on Friday to receive a French-British draft proposal for sanctions against Libyan leaders over the deadly attacks on demonstrators there, council envoys said.

No vote is expected on the draft elements of a sanctions resolution when the 15-nation council convenes at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT), Western diplomats said on Thursday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they expressed hope for speedy negotiations on the text and a vote sometime next week.

At the meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the council on the latest developments in Libya, the French and German U.N. missions said in separate statements.

So far, Russia and China, permanent veto-wielding council members that are usually reluctant to support U.N. sanctions against any country, have not objected to considering sanctions against Libya. But the diplomats said they expected Moscow and Beijing would attempt to dilute any proposed punitive steps.

The Anglo-French push came as rebels fighting forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi took control of major centers in eastern Libya, including Benghazi. Reports that the towns of Misrata and Zuara in the west had also fallen brought the tide of rebellion closer to the capital, Tripoli.

It was not immediately clear what precise measures would be included in the text, although diplomats suggested there could be asset freezes and travel bans for Gaddafi and other top Libyan officials seen as responsible for the violent crackdown on demonstrators that has left hundreds dead, the envoys said.

The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement on Thursday that it wanted concrete steps aimed at giving "immediate access to humanitarian aid and to impose sanctions on those responsible for violence."

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<p>Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, gestures as he speaks during an interview on state television, in this still image taken from video broadcast February 24, 2011. World leaders condemned Muammar Gaddafi's bloody crackdown on a revolt that has split Libya, but took little action to halt the bloodshed from the latest upheaval reshaping the Arab world. REUTERS/Libya TV via Reuters TV</p>
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