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Algeria Confirms Gadhafi Family’s Entry, Sidesteps UN Sanction Question

U.S. State Department(NEW YORK) -- Did Algeria violate U.N. sanctions by taking in Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s family?

Algeria sent a letter to the United Nations on Tuesday seeking to explain why it allowed members of Gadhafi’s family to enter the country Monday, despite an international travel ban imposed earlier this year.

The letter, written in French and obtained by ABC News from a U.N. diplomat, confirms details of the Gadhafi family’s crossing, including which individuals made the trip and that one individual -- reportedly Gadhafi’s daughter Aisha -- gave birth along the way.  The letter says the family crossed the border around 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday in a Mercedes and a bus.

The letter does not explain why Algeria allowed them to cross the border, other than to repeat public comments that it was for “humanitarian” reasons.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970, passed against Gadhafi in February, includes a travel ban on the leader, his family, and top officials.  According to the sanctions list, also obtained by ABC News in February, several family members were included in the travel ban, including three who were among the family members who crossed into Algeria: daughter Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed.  Gadhafi’s wife Sofia also crossed the border Monday, but she was not subject to the U.N. travel ban.

Diplomats in New York are trying to figure out what to do next and whether Algeria’s actions were justified or a breach of U.N. sanctions.

“There are concerns that this isn’t in keeping with the travel ban restrictions under U.N. Security Council 1970,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday, but she reserved final judgment on this, adding: “Under 1970, if a country takes steps beyond the U.N. Security Council resolution, it has 48 hours to explain itself to Security Council members.  And this is what that letter endeavors to do.  With regard to our response to it, I think it’s too early to tell.”

Nuland said Algeria’s foreign minister called the U.S. ambassador on Monday to inform him that Gadhafi’s family was allowed into the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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