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French President Calls for EU Sanctions Against Libya


France's President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks with ministers at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, February 23, 2011

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks with ministers at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, February 23, 2011

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government is facing new and stronger international calls to stop a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for the EU to impose "concrete sanctions" against Libya. In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he said those involved in the ongoing violence in Libya must know that they will "assume the consequences of their actions."

European Council President Herman van Rompuy on Wednesday condemned what he called "violence, aggression and intimidation" against Libyan demonstrators. He called for an "immediate end to the use of force."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would like to see a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Libya's use of force against protesters. In a Tuesday meeting, the Council expressed "grave concern" about Gadhafi's crackdown.

And Iran's state-run media says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged Gadhafi to meet public demands. The reports say Ahmadinejad expressed outrage at the "bad behavior of the Libyan government" toward its citizens.

On Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi telephoned Gadhafi to personally urge him to stop the violence. Berlusconi has had a friendly relationship with the Libyan leader, based in part on Italy's interests in securing energy supplies from its former colony and its desire for Libyan cooperation in stopping migrants from sailing to Italy.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday the 27-nation bloc has suspended negotiations with Libya on a framework agreement in response to Gadhafi's suppression of demonstrators. Speaking on a visit to Cairo, she deplored the loss of life in Libya, condemned all acts of violence and called on all sides to exercise restraint.

The Libyan leader also faced diplomatic pressure from his Arab neighbors. The Arab League held an emergency session in Cairo Tuesday, agreeing to suspend Libya from participating in its meetings. Arab League chief Amr Moussa said violence against protesters must end.

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