Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Moammar Gadhafi: Time to Step DownPosted: February 26, 2011
It looks like President Obama finally gave Hillary the go ahead to say what she probably wanted to say several days ago. From the LA Times:
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday called on Moammar Kadafi to step down, reversing previous reticence by the U.S. leaders to directly urge the Libyan president to leave office.
In a statement, Clinton said Kadafi “has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence,” and that the Libyan people deserved a government that “protects their universally recognized human rights.” The U.S. has always said that the future of Libya should be decided by its people, she said, and “they have made themselves clear.”
Meanwhile the White House released the contents of a phone call between Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
In a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama did not cite Kadafi by name, but said that the Libyan leader had lost his legitimacy. “The President stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” a White House statement said.
What is his problem with calling out Gadhafi by name anyway? Read Hillary’s full statement below the fold.
Here is Clinton’s full statement as published by USA Today:
The United States strongly condemns the ongoing violence and human rights violations committed by the government of Libya against its own people. As President Obama said, these actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. They must stop.
We are moving quickly on a series of steps to hold the Libyan government accountable for its violation of human rights and to mobilize a strong response from the international community.
Last night the United States took action to limit the ability of senior officials of the Gadhafi regime to travel. As Secretary of State, I signed an order directing the Department to revoke U.S. visas held by these officials, others responsible for human rights violations in Libya, and their immediate family members. As a matter of policy, new visa applications will be denied.
This step followed President Obama’s Executive Order freezing assets and imposing financial sanctions on members of the regime responsible for abuses against their own people and the suspension of the very limited defense trade we have had with Libya, including pending sales of spare military parts and other licenses allowing private companies to sell military equipment there.
The United States is also working with our friends and partners to mobilize a strong and unified response from the international community to hold accountable the perpetrators of these unacceptable violations of universal human rights. This afternoon I continued close consultations with our European allies, including EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. Negotiations are underway at the United Nations Security Council on a resolution that would impose new sanctions and restrictions. On Monday, I will meet with a number of counterparts in Geneva and address the UN Human Rights Council, which on Friday recommended suspending Libya’s membership. We are also working with partners to determine how to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. Consistent with the President’s guidance, we will continue to look at the full range of options to hold the Libyan government accountable and support the Libyan people.
We have always said that the Qadhafi government’s future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear. When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. Moammar Gadhafi has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence. The Libyan people deserve a government that is responsive to their aspirations and that protects their universally recognized human rights.
Galina Kolotnitskaya left home nine years ago to work in Libya, first at a hospital and then as part of Qaddafi’s personal staff, the newspaper reported.
“Mom got in touch with me yesterday,” Tatyana Kolotnitskaya, her daughter, was cited as saying. “She said she’s in Tripoli now. There’s shooting, fighting, basically everything they’re showing on the news. She was speaking in a calm voice and asked me not to worry, and said that soon she’ll be home.”
Former Bush poodle and British Prime Minister Tony Blair is apparently one-up on Obama in the Libyan situation. He actually called Gadhafi on the phone yesterday and told him to step down.
Britain’s former prime minister made two unannounced calls to Colonel Gaddafi on Friday – the day the Libyan President appeared in public and exhorted a crowd of his hardcore supporters to “defend the nation” against the uprising and “crush the enemy” behind it….
According to Whitehall sources, Mr Blair made an initial call to the Libyan President, who has ordered helicopter gunships to fire on protesters he described as “rats” and “cockroaches”. The Middle East envoy urged him to cease the attacks. The sources suggested that, after consultations with the British Foreign Office, Mr Blair was told that the UK Government would prefer the Libyan President to step down, and so he agreed to phone him again and transmit that message.
Let’s hope this bloody nightmare is almost over. It’s time to get some humanitarian aid in to help the victims of the tyrant’s murderous crackdown.