Clinton: No options are 'off the table,' Gaddafi must go

By REUTERS
February 28, 2011 18:33

US Sec. of State says Gaddafi must be held responsible for violent acts; US military repositions naval, air forces around Libya.

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Hillary Clinton

Clinton 311 reuters. (photo credit:Reuters)



GENEVA - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday Muammar Gaddafi was using "mercenaries and thugs" to suppress his own people and said the Libyan leader must step down immediately.



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"Gaddafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency," Clinton said in an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying nothing was off the table as the international community considers its next steps and as long as the Gaddafi government threatens and kills its civilians. "It is time for Gaddafi to go, now, without further violence or delay," she added.

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Meanwhile, the US military was repositioning naval and air forces around Libya, a Pentagon official said on Monday, as the international demands intensify for an end to Gaddafi's decades-long rule.

"We have planners working and various contingency plans and I think it's safe to say as part of that we're repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made ... to be able to provide options and flexibility," said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday also commented on events in Libya, calling on the fringes of the Gaddafi government to desert. Cameron added that he has not yet ruled out the use of "military assets," and has asked defense chiefs to work on no-fly zone.

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Back in Geneva, Clinton also commented on Iran, saying that Iranian authorities have targeted students, professors, bloggers, and activists. She added that she was proud the US was working with the UN Rights Council together with Sweden and other members to perform investigations on Iranian abuses.

She also said that Iranian human rights activists have pushed for such action to reign in international pressure on the Iranian government.

Clinton also stressed that the popular reforms and revolutions taking place in the Middle East are spreading. 

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