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President Obama spoke today on the events and violence in Libya, which he called “outrageous” and “unacceptable.” He said he asked his administration “to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis.” This includes sending both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Under Secretary Bill Burns to various stops in Europe to “intensify consultations” with allies and partners.
Obama insisted his “highest priority” was to protect American citizens in Libya.
In response to the violence that has reportedly been ordered by Colonel Mummar al-Qaddafi against protesters and dissenters, the president had this to say:
The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. 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.
The United States also strongly supports the universal rights of the Libyan people. That includes the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. They are not negotiable. They must be respected in every country. And they cannot be denied through violence or suppression
He also said he and his administration were also focused on the “peaceful transition to democracy in both Tunisia and in Egypt.”
President Obama Speaks on the Turmoil in Libya: “This Violence Must Stop” [www.WhiteHouse.gov]