WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011 — The international community must work toward three goals in Libya, America’s senior diplomat said today: delivering humanitarian assistance, pressuring and isolating Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, and supporting Libyans’ efforts for political change.
Speaking at the International Conference on Libya in London, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States has been proud to stand with its NATO, Arab and European partners in protecting Libya’s people.
“We have prevented a potential massacre, established a no-fly zone, stopped an advancing army, added more partners to this coalition, and transferred command of the military effort to NATO,” she said.
Today’s conference in London marks a turning point, Clinton said. While military actions will continue under NATO command, she explained, international attention must focus on humanitarian assistance and political transition in Libya.
Clinton said coalition military actions will continue until Gadhafi ceases attacks on civilians, pulls his troops back from places they have forcibly entered and allows key services and humanitarian assistance to reach all Libyans.
The coalition military campaign has made it possible for more help to get through, Clinton said. “For example, a convoy organized by the World Food Program was able to reach Benghazi this weekend with 18 tons of supplies, including food and blankets,” she noted. “But a great deal more aid is needed and we have to work quickly and cooperatively to assess and respond.”
Long-term progress in Libya will not be accomplished through military means, the secretary said. Quoting President Barack Obama from his speech last night, Clinton said, “We must continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to the Libyan people.”
The nations of the coalition cannot impose their will on the Libyan people, Clinton said, but must support their right to determine their own future. “And we have to speak with one voice in support of a transition that leads to that time,” she added.
“All of us have to continue the pressure on and deepen the isolation of the Gadhafi regime,” Clinton said. “This includes … political and diplomatic pressure that makes clear to Gadhafi he must go, that sends a strong message of accountability, and that sharpens the choice for those around him.”
The United States agrees with the Arab League that Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, she said, and with the African Union on the need for a democratic transition process. “And we support U.N. Special Envoy [Abdul Ilah] Khatib’s planned travel to Libya following this conference to assess conditions and report to the international community,” she added.
Libya is part of a greater change taking place in the region and around the world, Clinton said.
“Under different governments, under different circumstances, people are expressing the same basic aspirations –- a voice in their government, an end to corruption, freedom from violence and fear, the chance to live in dignity, and to make the most of their God-given talents,” she said. Such goals are not easily reached, she acknowledged, but she added they are worth working for.
“And I’m very proud that this coalition has come to this place at this time to try to pursue those goals,” she concluded.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)