Clinton Urges Aid to Libya, Pressure on Gadhafi

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) 

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