London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Western sources have confirmed that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has “begun to feel the affects” of the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the European Union [EU], which include freezing the Gaddafi family assets and a travel ban. The Western source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “from our contact with officials in the Libyan regime, it is clear that they are under pressure.”
The Western source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, also revealed that the next challenge will be in implementing the new sanctions that were approved by the EU a few days ago. The source said that this may take some time, but added that “the speed that decisions were taken on a variety of different levels has, in itself, surprised Gaddafi and his followers.” The source stressed that these steps aim to “isolate the Gaddafi regime, deprive it of funds, and reduce its power.” The Western also confirmed that “the figures and officials who are responsible for human rights violations will be held accountable.”
Britain has announced that it is extending an asset freeze on a further 20 members of the Libyan leader’s entourage, and that it had also impounded around 100 million pounds ($160 million) of Libyan currency. This asset freeze was initially only imposed against Gaddafi and his immediate family, but has been extended to include a number of his close aides. In total, approximately 2 billion pounds of Libyan assets are believed to have been frozen in Britain.
British Finance Minister George Osborne told the BBC that “the financial net is closing in on Colonel Gaddafi” adding that “we’re denying him access to bank notes, access to bank accounts, making sure he is held accountable for what is taking place in Libya and also denied the means to persecute his own people.”
British authorities seized the cargo of 100 million pounds of Libyan currency from a ship that returned to its waters on Wednesday, after it was unable to dock in Tripoli following security concerns.
Osborne revealed that British authorities had been monitoring the ship for a week, and that the Gaddafi regime had also been getting daily updates on the ship’s whereabouts.