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Monday, April 4, 2011

US lifts sanctions on Libyan ex-foreign minister

Washington (ANTARA News/AFP) - The US government on Monday lifted sanctions against Libya`s former foreign minister Mussa Kussa after he defected to Britain, a move designed to further weaken Moamer Kadhafi`s inner circle.

Kussa`s assets were frozen last month as part of a US and allied campaign to pile pressure on the Libyan leader and his closest advisers.

"Kussa has since severed ties with the Kadhafi regime, and today the United States is lifting sanctions against him," the Treasury Department said.

The department`s top sanctions official said he hoped the move would encourage other Kadhafi officials to defect.

"Kussa`s defection and the subsequent lifting of sanctions against him should encourage others within the Libyan government to make similar decisions to abandon the Kadhafi regime," said David Cohen.

While holding out the prospect that officials could regain access to their bank accounts, Cohen said the United States would unveil "additional sanctions against other officials in the coming days.

"Those who continue to serve in the Libyan government should be put on notice that Treasury will continue to aggressively identify and target senior officials for sanctions."

The US has so far frozen around $33 billion worth of Libyan assets, including those of 13 senior Libyan government officials.

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