President Barack Obama, decrying the violence in Libya as outrageous, said he is sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to meet with counterparts from other nations to work on a coordinated response to the violence in Libya.
The United States also is exploring ways to step up pressure on Moammar Qadhafi’s regime, he said at the White House after meeting with Clinton.
In his first remarks on the uprising that has split Libya and prompted a deadly response from Qadhafi and his loyalists, Obama said, “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous” and those responsible must be held accountable.
“These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency,” Obama dsif.
Clinton will meet with other officials at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Feb. 28 to work on a unified approach, he said. The United States also is continuing to address turmoil elsewhere in the region and seeking ways to support a peaceful transition in Egypt and Tunisia, where protests have toppled longtime leaders.
The United States is rushing to evacuate its citizens from Libya, where clashes between anti-government rebels and Qadhafi’s forces have killed about 300 people, according to Human Rights Watch. Qadhafi warned last night that he will fight the rebellion to his death.
U.S. officials said earlier that among the options being considered against Libya are sanctions, including freezing assets of Qadhafi and his allies. The U.S. will look at coordinated action with other governments as well as unilateral steps, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, refusing to elaborate.
“Everything will be on the table,” Clinton said at a news conference earlier today.
Obama said the United States is applying the same “core principles” to Libya as it did in response to the popular uprisings that have toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as protests in nations across the Middle East and North Africa.
Those include condemnation of violence against protesters and supporting the right of citizens to gather, speak freely and determine their own destiny, he said.
“These are human rights,” Obama said. “They are not negotiable. They must be respected in every country.”
Carney said the administration is monitoring oil markets for any effect on prices from the unrest in Libya, holder of the biggest proven reserves in Africa. He didn’t elaborate.
“We are monitoring oil prices very carefully, but I wouldn’t speculate about where those prices will go in the future,” he said.
Oil touched $100 a barrel in New York for the first time since October 2008, on concern that the uprising threatened to halt Libyan exports. Libya pumps 1.6 million barrels of oil a day, about 1.8 percent of world supply, according to Bloomberg estimates. Most of it is exported to Europe.
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