By Pavel Tarasenko (Kommersant, Russia):
David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing, spoke about the freezing of $30 billion in Libyan assets by the U.S. Treasury Department. According to Mr. Cohen, the government of Libya, the central bank of the country, as well as the actual head of Jamahiriya, Moammar Gadhafi and his family, have lost their assets. Mr. Cohen noted that $30 billion is the largest sum of money to ever be blocked by a sanctions program.
The decision to impose financial sanctions against Libya was announced by Barack Obama on Friday. In addition to freezing Libyan assets, Washington imposed a ban on any banking transactions with financial and power structures of the troubled country. Similar measures have been introduced by the European Union, Switzerland and Canada.
In recent days, the international community has been actively discussing the possibility of not only financial but also hard-force pressure on the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. Thus, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said on Monday that the U.S. military is developing plans for possible emergencies. “We prepare the various plans of action, and we can tell that herein we make a regrouping of our armies in region to be ready to undertake action as soon as decisions” are made, said Lapan. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in turn, said that Washington is “prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the U.S.”
However, it seems that Mr. Gadhafi himself still nurtures the hope that he can appease Washington. In his interviews with ABC News, the BBC and The Sunday Times, the Libyan leader called Barack Obama a “good man” who appears to be “misinformed about the situation in Libya.”* “The statements I have heard from him must have come from someone else,” said Mr. Gadhafi, noting that the United States should not act as if they were “the international police of the world.”
*Editor’s Note: While Gadhafi is quoted as referring to Barack Obama as a “good man,” the latter is quoted material from an ABC News report.