EU to impose Libya arms embargo, travel bans Monday

BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - European Union governments will sign off on sanctions against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his government on Monday, including an arms embargo and bans on travel to the bloc, diplomats said.

The decision was expected to be made later in the week but has been brought forward to ensure the measures are enforced as soon as possible, diplomats said.

EU states are also expected to freeze the assets of Gaddafi, his family and government, and ban the sale of goods such as tear gas that can be used against demonstrators.

European powers have called on Gaddafi, in power for more than four decades, to stand down after his attempts to suppress two weeks of anti-government protests.

EU diplomats said ministers from the 27 EU states meeting in Brussels will agree the steps while formally endorsing sanctions agreed by the U.N. Security Council on Saturday, which include travel bans and asset freezes.

The decision is expected around 1400 GMT, diplomats said.

Gaddafi's forces have been trying for days to push back a revolt that has won over large parts of the military, ended his control over eastern Libya and is holding the government at bay in western cities near the capital Tripoli.

In the latest news on Monday, rebels were fighting a government bid to take back Libya's third city, Misrata, 200 km (125 miles) to the east, a witness said.

The EU's foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, was meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European foreign ministers and envoys from Arab and African countries in Geneva to coordinate the international response. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Luke Baker, Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)