15 APR 2011
By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The EU has said it was right to take former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa off a sanctions list because he had defected to the anti-Gaddafi side.
A spokesman for EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton told EUobserver on Friday (15 April) "it was felt that he no longer fulfilled the criteria for sanctions after defecting." Asked if the purpose of the sanctions was to punish people for wrongdoing or to alter the behaviour of Gaddafi loyalists, he added "It was to put pressure on the regime primarily."
A spokesman for the British foreign ministry told UK press on Thursday: "Sanctions are introduced to invoke behavioural change and as Moussa Koussa has chosen to leave the regime, he is no longer sanctioned in this way."
Jutsifying its decision to absolve Koussa from US punitive measures last week, treasury official David S. Cohen wrote in his blog: "Koussa's defection and the subsequent lifting of sanctions against him should encourage others within the Libyan government to make similar decisions to abandon the Gaddafi regime."
The EU decision was made unanimously at ambassador-level last Thursday.
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