NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The United Nations Security Council late Saturday unanimously ordered sanctions against the regime of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

In

a news release

, the Security Council said it was imposing an arms embargo on the North African country, as well as a travel ban and an assets freeze on Gadhafi's family and and certain Government officials.

The Council also referred the situation to the International Criminal Court.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move. "While it cannot, by itself, end the violence and the repression, it is a vital step -- a clear expression of the will of a united community of nations," he said.

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The resolution is aimed at halting Gadhafi's violent crackdown on antigovernment protests that began in mid-February. The opposition has taken control of cities in the eastern part of the country, although the capital, Tripoli, remains in the hands of Gadhafi and his supporters.

Unrest in Libya and other Arab nations caused oil prices to spike this week and also led to the

first significant selloff in U.S. stocks this year

.

The U.N. sanctions come one day after President Obama

signed an executive order

imposing a range of sanctions on Libya.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.