February 28, 2011 / 2:09 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-EU agrees Libya arms embargo, travel ban

* EU to implement arms embargo, travel bans, asset freeze

* Move coincides with crisis meeting at UN in Geneva (Releads with approval of sanctions)

BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - European Union governments approved a package of sanctions against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his closest advisers on Monday, including an arms embargo and bans on travel to the bloc.

The 27 EU states also agreed to freeze the assets of Gaddafi, his family and government, and ban the sale of goods such as tear gas and anti-riot equipment that can be used against demonstrators.

The decision, approved at a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels, was brought forward to ensure the measures were enforced as soon as possible, the diplomats said.

European powers have called on Gaddafi, in power for more than four decades, to stand down after his attempts to suppress two weeks of anti-government protests.

Hungarian Development Minister Tamas Fellegi, whose country holds the current EU presidency, said the 27 states formally endorsed sanctions agreed by the U.N. Security Council on Saturday, which include travel bans and asset freezes.

They went further by extending the visa ban to another 10 individuals in addition to the 16 on the U.N. list and extended the asset freeze to 20 individuals in addition to Gaddafi and five family members, Fellegi told a news conference.

The measures are expected to take effect in the coming days, once the regulation is published in the EU’s official journal.

The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, was meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European foreign ministers and envoys from Arab and African countries in Geneva to coordinate the international response.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Geneva after meeting Clinton he was proposing a 60-day freeze on all financial payments to Libya to prevent money from going to Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s forces have sought to suppress a revolt that has won over large parts of the military, ended his control over eastern Libya and is holding the government at bay in western cities near the capital Tripoli.

On Monday, rebels were fighting a government bid to take back Libya’s third city, Misrata, 200 km (125 miles) to the east, a witness said. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Luke Baker; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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