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

Speaking in Geneva, Clinton says Gaddafi must be held responsible for violent acts, also says UNHCR should abandon bias against Israel; UK PM calls on fringes of Libyan gov't to defect.

February 28, 2011 18:04
2 minute read.
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. "It is time for Gaddafi to go, now, without further violence or delay," she added.

Libyan rebels fight back military, shoot down aircraft

The US secretary of state commented that "nothing is off the table," as long as the Gaddafi government threatens and kills its civilians.

Speaking on the UNHRC's attitude toward Israel, she said the council must abandon its bias against Israel, which undermines its work.

“The structural bias against Israel, including a standing agenda item [on Israel], is wrong and it undermines the important work that we are trying to do together as member states,” she told the UNHRC at the opening of its 16th session.

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turmoil in the Middle East

“We can take this council in a better and stronger direction,” she added.

Almost since its inception in 2006, the council has been criticized for focusing on Israel to the exclusion of other human rights issues around the globe.

Commenting on Iran, Clinton said 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 added that Iranian human rights activists have pushed for such action to reign in international pressure on the Iranian government.

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

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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