(Photo: AP/ Andres Kudacki)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the Obama administration is ready to offer “any type of assistance” to Libyan protesters trying to oust dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Clinton’s remark came just before she flew to Geneva to discuss the situation in Libya with European leaders who also want to remove Gaddafi from power.
“We’ve been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east,” said Clinton, referring to Libyans trying to form a provisional government in the east side of the country.
“We are ready and prepared to offer any type of assistance,” Clinton said, although not mentioning military aid.
On Saturday, President Obama talked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said the Libyan leader is an illegitimate ruler.
“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,” said a White House Statement.
Also on Saturday, the U.N. Security Council voted 15-0 to impose an arms embargo on Libya and to urge U.N. member countries to freeze the assets of Gaddafi and five of his children. The Council also voted to support a travel ban on the Gaddafi family and leaders of his administration.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who will meet President Obama in Washington on Monday to discuss the situation in Libya, said, “In the days ahead, we will look for similarly decisive steps from the U.N. General Assembly and the international community as a whole.”
“Today’s measures are tough,” he said Saturday. “In the coming days, if needed, even bolder action may become necessary.”
As many as 1,000 peaceful protesters have been killed by Gaddafi’s government since the protests began on Feb. 15. Demonstrators are demanding greater freedom and an end to Gaddafi’s more than 42-year rule. They are also protesting against the country’s high unemployment rate.
“As violence continues in Libya and other parts of the Middle East, the WEA pleads with Christians globally to continue to pray earnestly for the region,” said the World Evangelical Alliance in a statement Sunday. “The WEA is deeply saddened by the loss of life in the region as a whole, and pleads with all those who exercise power over others not to abuse that power and not to take one more life.”
The global evangelical body added, “The WEA asks people of goodwill to encourage all leaders in the region (old and new) to respect the human rights of all their people.”
Gaddafi has been in power since 1969.