U.S. Freezes $30 Billion in Libyan Assets; Gadhafi Called 'Delusional'

The U.S. has frozen $30 billion in Libyan assets.

Feb. 28, 2011 — -- The Obama administration has frozen $30 billion in assets belonging to the regime of Libyan strongman Moamar Gadhafi who one top American official today said was "delusional."

The White House's actions came just hours after the European Union imposed sanctions on the tottering Libyan dictatorship.

"As of today, at least $30 billion in government of Libya assets under United States jurisdiction have been blocked as a result of the executive order issued by President Obama," Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said. "This is the largest blocking under any sanctions program ever."

The $30 billion is the total of all of assets of the government of Libya, the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Investment Authority. Cohen was unable to provide details as to how much belonged to the Gadhafi family. Cohen said there was no evidence that Ghadafi or anyone from his government had tried to remove the money.

"These blocking actions... serve two very important objectives: depriving Col Gadhafi and his government of access to these assets and simultaneously safeguarding them for the Libyan people," Cohen said.

Officials said the U.S. was also imposing an arms embargo on Libya.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice said the U.S. was watching developments in Libya, uncertain who would take charge of the country if the Gadhafi regime collapses.

"It's unclear at this point who will emerge as the critical opposition elements," Rice said.

She dismissed Gadhafi's claims in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Christiane Amanpour that "my people love me," and that his troops did not fire on anti-government protesters.

"It sounds just frankly delusional and when he can laugh and talking to American and international journalists while he is slaughtering his own people. It only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality," the ambassador said.

As many as 1,000 people have died in confrontations with Gadhafi's supporters and fighter jet pilots have said they defected rather than obey orders to fire on protesters.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted high-level talks in Geneva with foreign ministers from Europe today, pressing for tough sanctions on the Libyan government in an effort to force the ouster of leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

"We have seen Colonel Gadhafi's security forces open fire on peaceful protesters," Clinton said at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. "They have used heavy weapons on unarmed civilians. Mercenaries and thugs have been turned loose to attack demonstrators."

Clinton called on Gadhafi to leave power "now, without further violence or delay."

The European Union also declared sanctions against the North African country, reinforcing the United Nations Security Council's resolution passed against Gadhafi's regime on Saturday.

The International Criminal Court is deciding whether to open a formal investigation into alleged crimes against humanity being committed in Libya, saying it will act "swiftly and impartially" and that "there will be no impunity for leaders involved in the commission of crimes."

The first humanitarian aid from the west is on its way to Libya from France. The United States has also pledged aid.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told his parliament this morning that he has asked the Ministry of Defense to work with the United Kingdom's allies to enforce a military no-fly zone around Libya.

"We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets. We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people," Cameron said.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, however, said that the institution of a no-fly zone over Libya should be a "political decision of the UN Security Council, and attention should be paid to the implications and consequences."

The developments come as the opposition appears to be gaining ground in its fight to end Gadhafi's 41-year-rule. The European Union said that Gadhafi has lost control of most of the country's oil and gas fields. Over the weekend, the opposition's control moved closer to Tripoli, Gadhafi's stronghold.

In Zawiyah, just 30 miles west of Tripoli, civilian opponents and some military defectors claim they've been in control for several days.

"They can kill all of us, but what the hell? We're looking for freedom; we have a cause," one protester said.

Protesters in the suburbs of Tripoli chanted, '"The blood of martyrs won't go to waste," the BBC reported.

Gadhafi has attempted to appease those living in the capital by offering $400 per family. There were reports of long lines at banks in Tripoli with people seeking the money. Food prices continue to skyrocket with rice prices at $40 for a 10-pound bag.

The standoff between protesters and the regime have sent migrant workers fleeing the country. In an airport in Tripoli, huge crowds of migrant workers are struggling to get out, camping on the airport grounds.

In Misrata, 125 miles east of Tripoli, skirmishes took place overnight between rebel forces controlling the city and troops loyal to the regime, according to residents.

Each side controls part of a sprawling air base on the outskirts of the city.

Anti-Gadhafi Rebels Gaining in Western Part of Libya

Saif Gadhafi, one of his father's chief advisers, said that the government has not used force against protesters.

"We didn't use force. Second, we still have people around us," Saif Gadhafi said.

Saif Gadhafi denied reports of helicopter gunships firing on people and reports of Libyan Air Force pilots defecting, jettisoning their planes rather than carry out orders to bomb citizens.

"Show me a single attack. Show me a single bomb. Show me a single casualty. The Libyan Air Force destroyed just the ammunition sites," Saif Gadhafi said.

A newly released amateur video purportedly shows Saif Gadhafi holding a gun talking to supporters.

Gadhafi's regime invited more than 100 journalists to the turbulent country in an effort to prove they've shown restraint against their opponents.

When asked about President Obama's call for Col. Gadhafi to step down, Saif Gadhafi responded, "First of all, it's not American business. Do you think this is a solution? Of course not."

Saadi Gadhafi, a professional soccer player who is less involved with politics than his brother, called the protests sweeping the country and demanding an end to his father's rule, an "earthquake."

"If he [Col. Gadhafi] were to leave today, there would be war," he said. "Civil war in Libya."

ABC News' Christiane Amanpour, Katie Hinman, Huma Khan, Ann Wise, Jean-Nicholas Fievet and The Associated Press contributed to this report.