December 12, 2014 / 5:23 PM / in 4 years

EU could consider new Libya sanctions if it helps talks: diplomats

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union could consider imposing new sanctions on Libya if U.N. Special Envoy Bernardino Leon thought it would help his efforts to end the political crisis there, EU diplomats said on Friday.

United Nations (U.N.) Special Representative for Libya Bernardino Leon speaks during a news conference in Tripoli September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

The prospect of more sanctions had been raised in EU discussions but had not been discussed in detail, one diplomat said.

“The question is at what point does it become useful as a tool to incentivise (the Libyan parties). At the point that Leon thinks that it would be useful, there will be a discussion,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He did not say what type of sanctions could be considered.

The United Nations launched a first round of talks in September to try to resolve a political crisis in Libya, but they made no progress. A second round, originally scheduled to start this week, has been postponed until next week.

EU foreign ministers, who hold a regular meeting in Brussels on Monday, will discuss the situation in Libya and talk about how the EU could help support Leon’s efforts, a senior EU official said.

The official said the United Nations Security Council had recently passed a resolution asking U.N. members to enhance sanctions against people who obstructed the U.N.’s efforts “so we have the legal instruments to do this.”

“I don’t think there is at the moment any proposal on the table but we are ... in close contact with Bernardino Leon, and if he thinks something should be done he will let us know and we would decide then what to do,” he said.

Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Foo Yun Chee

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