The two most powerful members of the European Union (EU), France and Germany, have threatened to strike Libya with sanctions in response to Moammar Gaddafi’s brutal crackdown on protesters.
Such sanctions would eventually lead to the cancellation of all economic and business ties between Libya and the EU.
The EU may also investigate charges that the Libyan militia’s attacks on demonstrators constitute crimes against humanity.”
The continuing brutal and bloody repression against the Libyan civilian population is revolting, said French President Nicolas Sarkozy . The international community cannot remain a spectator to these massive violations of human rights.
The EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, said Libya has committed horrible crimes that are unacceptable and must not remain without consequences.
The Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said that a political leader who has decided to bomb his own citizens has lost all legitimacy to continue leading his country.
The EU had up till now now moved sluggishly with respect to Libya, perhaps because Gaddafi is one of Europe’s premier oil suppliers.
There is a great deal of agreement with many partners in the European Union here, said Germany's foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said. If this violence continues, everyone in Europe will know that this cannot go unanswered. I cannot imagine that, given these terrible pictures, these terrible events in our immediate neighborhood, any other policy is possible in Europe.”
However, the economies ties between Libya and Europe are very deep. According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2009 Italy received about 38 percent of Libyan exports, with Germany at 10 percent, and France and Spain at 8 percent each. Also, in that year, 19 percent of imports to Libya came from Italy, followed by China at 10 percent, and Germany and Turkey at about 10 percent.
Gaddafi, who has vowed to fight to the end, is also losing diplomatic relations with other countries.
Peru cancelled diplomatic relations with Libya and asked the U.N. Security Council to establish a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace to prevent the use of that country's warplanes against [its] population.
Even Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized Gaddafi, expressing outrage at the bad behavior of the Libyan government toward its citizens.
Several Libyan diplomats around the world have either defected or resigned.
Meanwhile, an EU draft resolution said it strongly condemns the recent extremely grave human rights violations committed in Libya, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators, which if widespread and systematic, may amount to crimes against humanity.