WASHINGTON - The United States has suspended its embassy operations and is moving toward unilateral sanctions against Libya, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday.
"The State Department has suspended embassy operations in Libya and will temporarily withdraw all embassy employees from Tripoli," Carney told reporters at a White House press briefing.
He said a ferry with some 200 US citizens left Tripoli on Friday morning, and a charter plane recently took off for Istanbul, Turkey with remaining embassy personnel and American citizens who had requested evacuation.
"We have decided to move forward with unilateral sanctions, which we are in the process of finalizing," he added, stressing that they are coordinated sanctions with European allies and will be finalized "in the near future."
Carney said that earlier in the day the Department of Treasury has advised US financial institutions to monitor transactions relating to Libya to guard against misappropriated or diverted state assets, proceeds of bribery and corruption or other illegal payments.
"Additionally, the United States has suspended the very limited military cooperation it had with Libya," he noted, adding that such cooperation began in 2009 following Libya's decision to halt its weapons of mass destruction programs and compensate victims of terrorism.
The spokesman said that President Barack Obama will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington on Monday, discussing the "diplomatic, legal and other actions needed to put a stop to violence against civilians in Libya."
Meanwhile, the United States is "utilizing the full extent of its intelligence capabilities" to monitor the Libyan government's actions, he said.
Libyan protesters took to the streets last week in a bid to put an end to Gaddafi's 41-year rule, plunging the OPEC member nation into chaos and bloodshed, pushing up oil prices in the global market.
"The Libyan people deserve a government now that protects the safety of its citizens, is responsive to their aspirations and is broadly representative," Carney said.