Sunday, February 27, 2011

U.S. Encourages Gadhafi's Opposition

Updated at 8:20 p.m. est

President Obama will host United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon tomorrow as NATO reportedly reconsiders whether to set up a no-fly zone over Libya to protect protesters from air attacks by forces loyal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Italy, meanwhile, once considered to be Libya's closet European ally, suspended its treaty with Gadhafi today, seen as a precursor to further potential action to counter the Libyan strongman as his stranglehold on the country continues to shrink at the hands of vigilant rebels.

The New York Times reported today that NATO and other European allies are reconsidering implementing a no-fly zone over Libya.

end update

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed earlier today that the United States is "reaching out" to Libyans organizing opposition to dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Speaking to reporters before heading to Geneva for a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Clinton said, "We are just at the beginning of what will follow Gadhafi" as his regime slowly crumbles.

"First we have to see the end of his regime with no further violence and bloodshed, which is a big challenge in front of all of us," Clinton said.

"But we’ve been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the East and as the revolution moves westward there as well," she added. "I think it’s way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we’re going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States."

Clinton is particularly hopeful that the UN Security Council's resolution, which was approved unanimously last night, will put pressure on Gadhafi and his loyal advisers and forces, including his hired mercenaries.

"The Security Council resolution passed unanimously yesterday makes clear there will be accountability for crimes against humanity and war crimes and other atrocities that are being perpetrated against the Libyan people, including a referral to the International Criminal Court," Clinton said.

"And I want to underscore this unanimous message from the Security Council to those who are around Gadhafi that you will be held accountable for the actions that are being taken and have been taken against your own people," she added.

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