Brussels - European Union governments approved a package of sanctions against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his government on Monday, including an arms embargo and bans on travel to the bloc.

EU states also said they would freeze the assets of Gaddafi, his family and government, and ban the sale of goods such as tear gas and anti-riot equipment that can be used against demonstrators, diplomats said.

The decision, approved at a meeting of EU ministers in Brussels, was brought forward to ensure the measures are enforced as soon as possible, the diplomats said.

The measures are expected to come into effect in the coming days, once the regulation is published in the EU's official journal.