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Germany advocates tougher Libya sanctions amid escalating violence

Germany's foreign minister has called for tougher sanctions against Moammar Gadhafi and his inner circle, saying their cash flows should be cut off to prevent further violence against the Libyan people.

Libyan rebel looks through his binocular toward the sky, behind a waving rebel flag

Libyan rebels have been fighting troops loyal to Gadhafi in several cities

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has called for stricter sanctions against Moammar Gadhafi's regime, but added that such measures could only work via the UN with the support of Libya's neighbors.

Guido Westerwelle at a news conference

The German foreign minister wants to target Gadhafi's cash flow

"What's happening in Libya fills me with the greatest concern," Guido Westerwelle told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "Targeted sanctions are necessary against those people who are responsible for the crimes against the Libyan people. The flow of money must be stopped."

Westerwelle said the existing economic and weapons sanctions leveled against the country, which Libya has asked the UN to suspend, do not go far enough.

"It's clear that the international community's actions must be authorized through the Security Council of the United Nations," the minister said, also stressing the need for support and cooperation from Libya's neighbors in the region.

The UN approved a set of sanctions last week, freezing many assets belonging to Gadhafi, his family and his closest aides, and imposing an international travel ban. The delegates in New York also decided to refer Gadhafi and his inner circle to the International Criminal Court for investigation on possible charges of crimes against humanity.

EU sends fact-finders to Tripoli

Catherine Ashton

The EU's Ashton is seeking reliable information for Libya summits later in the week

As fighting between Gadhafi loyalists and rebels intensified across Libya, the EU on Sunday dispatched a fact-finding mission to the capital Tripoli, charged with reporting back on the progress and requirements of humanitarian and evacuation efforts in the country.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton commissioned the special report ahead of an emergency European foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Thursday, and a subsequent summit of European leaders on Friday.

"I have decided to dispatch this high level mission to provide me with first-hand, real-time information to feed into the discussions leading up to Friday's extraordinary European Council, when I will update heads of state and government on the situation," Ashton said in a statement.

Diplomats in Brussels, however, were keen to stress that this team, led by the EU's head of crisis management, Agostino Miozzo, was to embark on a fact-finding mission, not a diplomatic one.

"We have people on the borders, but nobody on the ground in Libya to find out what's going on," an EU diplomat told Reuters. "We are not there to negotiate, but to listen, and find out what's going on on the ground."

Mixed reports

The female relative of a fighter, center, holds his gun in the air, as pro-Gadhafi soldiers and supporters gather to celebrate in Green Square, Tripoli, Libya

Gadhafi loyalists in Tripoli celebrated supposed victories

The UN conservatively estimates that 1,000 people have been killed in the Libyan unrest, which is showing no sign of abating. Rebels and government troops continued fighting on Sunday, with either side claiming several victories, often in the same cities.

Moammar Gadhafi's regime said it had regained control of the towns of Tobruk, Ras Lanuf, Zawiya and Misrata, but rebels in each of those settlements have disputed these claims.

Despite reports of gunfire in the early hours of the morning, Tripoli - Gadhafi's principle stronghold - was apparently calm and under government control on Sunday.

Meanwhile, rebels based in the eastern city of Benghazi established a 30-member National Libyan Council over the weekend, claiming that this organization will become the sole political representative of the popular revolt.

It immediately called on the international community to impose a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, one of the possible courses of action to limit the mobility of the Gadhafi's military.

Author: Mark Hallam (dapd, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Toma Tasovac

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