U.S. freezes $30B in Libyan assets, pushes allies on sanctions

The Treasury Department froze about $30 billion in Libyan assets on Monday as U.S. officials pushed international allies to toughen sanctions against the country and its leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

The blocking of funds, reported by The Washington Post, is the largest amount ever sanctioned by the U.S., and comes as the White House raised the pitch on its call for Gadhafi to step down.

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The calls by the U.S. and its western allies for Gadhafi’s removal are in response to the Libyan’s violent crackdown against scores of citizens protesting his more-than four decades of rule.
 
Department of Defense officials said the military had deployed naval and air forces to the region, according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Polls flash warning signs for Trump Polls suggest Sanders may be underestimated 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall MORE told the United Nations Human Rights Council that the U.S. Agency for International Development was planning to devote about $10 million in aid funds for Libyan refugees. Clinton has called on Gadhafi to step down immediately. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that “exile is certainly one option for him to make that change.”

The European Union implemented an arms embargo on the country as British lawmakers announced plans to establish a military no-fly zone over Libya and France began sending several planes loaded with humanitarian aid to the country. 

Gadhafi remains in Tripoli, and has given no indication he intends to step down.

“My people love me,” he said in an interview with ABC News and other outlets.