as Russia announces ban on arms sales to Libya
The German government ordered a freeze on Thursday on bank accounts in the country held by the Libyan Central Bank and the Libyan Investment Authority.
Also Russia will ban all weapons sales to Libya, the Kremlin said in a statement on Thursday, effectively suspending its arms contracts with the government of Muammar Gaddafi
The action is aimed at cutting off potential sources of funding for Muammar Gaddafi.
The German economy ministry said the move responded to a European Union decision this week to clamp down on Libyan state banks controlled by Gaddafi.
It also covered the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio and the Libyan Foreign Bank.
“Access to money of the Libyan Central Bank, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, Libyan Foreign Bank and Libyan Investment Authority is forbidden until further notice,” said the ministry.
It said that the move was taken in coordination with the German foreign and finance ministries and the Bundesbank.
Earlier this week, the EU decided to step up financial sanctions against Libyan leader Gaddafi, his family and some of his aides and supporters of his government.
Gaddafi’s forces launched a fresh bombardment on the eastern Libyan oil town of Ras Lanuf on Thursday, a day after warplanes were reported to have struck another oil port, rebels and witnesses said.
The banks affected by the freeze “are controlled by Muammar Gaddafi and are a potential source of financing for his regime”, said the German ministry in a statement.
The targets of the new EU financial sanctions include the 70 billion dollars, LIA, a sovereign fund that has used oil and gas revenue to invest in prominent European assets including banks and a defence company.
Europe has also placed a travel ban on the Libyan leader and his family and followers as well as imposing an arms embargo.
It also placed a ban on exports of equipment such as riot gear and tear gas that could be used by his security forces against rebels
Russia will ban all weapons sales to Libya, the Kremlin said in a statement on Thursday, effectively suspending its arms contracts with the government of Muammar Gaddafi.
An order signed by President Dmitry Medvedev “bans the export from the Russian Federation to Libya as well as the sale, delivery and transfer of all types of arms and related materials, including weapons and ammunition, combat vehicles and military hardware,” it said.
Russia, the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the U.S., was one of the main suppliers of weapons to Libya.
A senior Russian arms official said last week the unrest in Libya had cost Moscow four billion dollars in arms deals.
The daily Kommersant cited a source last week as saying Russia had two billion dollars worth of arms contracts with Libya and was close to concluding deals to sell military aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles worth another 1.8 billion dollars. (Reuters/NAN)