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The Mideast

EU Foreign Ministers Freeze Assets of Libyan Ports

European Union foreign ministers harshly condemned the regime of Libyan Col. Muammar Qaddafi on Monday, saying there could be no impunity for crimes against humanity and urging his followers to distance themselves from such crimes.

"Time is not on Gadhafi's side," the foreign ministers said in a statement. "He has lost all legitimacy to remain in power."

The 27 foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, toughened the EU's sanctions against the regime by adding six port authorities controlled by Qaddafi's forces to its asset-freeze list. The ports were not named.

The statement said the officials were concerned about the humanitarian situation, particularly in the city of Misrata and in the western mountains, and said charity organizations must be granted unhindered access throughout Libya without delay. It reiterated the offer -- made many times, but never accepted -- to support the delivery of humanitarian aid with an EU military force if requested to do so by the U.N.

The statement also said the EU, working with the U.N., the World Bank and regional organizations, had started to mobilize its resources to support a political transition in Libya and will also help with post-conflict reconstruction.

"The EU is committed to supporting the building of a democratic state," the statement said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has expressed concern about postwar stability in Libya if planning is not done.

She has said a successful post-conflict period in North Africa will require what she calls the three M's: money, market access and mobility. She wants Europe to contribute billions of euros to develop the economies of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.