Obama Condemns Libyan Violence
US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States strongly condemns the use of violence on protesters in Libya and said a unified international response was forming.
"The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable," Obama said in his strongest and most direct statements to date on the unrest in Libya. "So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop."
Flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama said Libya's government "must be held accountable" for its failure to meet its responsibilities, and he emphasized a growing international chorus of condemnation against the situation.
"The entire world is watching," Obama said.
He announced that Clinton would travel to Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday to join a Human Rights Council meeting. The group, part of the United Nations, is negotiating a resolution on Libya, according to European diplomats who spoke to CNN.
Among the elements under consideration for the resolution are a call on Libya to protect its citizens, condemnation of the violence and a demand for an international inquiry and access for humanitarian groups.
Obama emphasized the first priority of his administration was protecting U.S. citizens in Libya, where the State Department is trying to help Americans and their family members get out on a ferry from Tripoli, the capital. He called for all Americans in Libya to leave the country immediately.
He also said a range of possible U.S. actions were under consideration, including unilateral steps and efforts in concert with other nations and international groups.
"In a volatile situation like this one, it is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice, and that has been our focus," Obama said.
The president's public statement before television cameras was considered part of an administration effort to counter impressions of inaction and presidential silence involving Libya, with U.S. officials saying the government is considering a range of options to pressure Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Earlier Wednesday, Clinton told reporters that the Libyan government "will be held accountable" for the acts of violence taken against protesters.
"Everything will be on the table," she said in remarks at the State Department. "We will look at all the possible options" to end the violence.
"This is now the moment for the international community to act together," Clinton said.
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