US leans on Libyan leadership to end violence

Washington, Feb.21 (ANI): The United States State Department has said that it was "gravely concerned" about reports of violence in Libya, and particularly over the number of deaths in many parts of the country.

The New York Times quoted State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, as saying that Washington has raised "strong objections about the use of lethal force" with several senior Libyan officials, including Foreign Minister Musa Kusa.

"Libyan officials have stated their commitment to protecting and safeguarding the right of peaceful protest. We call upon the Libyan Government to uphold that commitment and hold accountable any security officer who does not act in accordance with that commitment," Crowley said.n Friday night, President Barack Obama spoke to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain, leaning on the government to show restraint, especially against peaceful protesters, and pressing for meaningful reform.

US National Security Adviser Thomas E. Donilon telephoned Bahrain Crown Prince Sheik Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, to underscore Obama's message.

Administration officials said Sunday that the tough line with Bahrain, home of the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet and the center of American efforts to contain Iran, had been effective.

As it did with Iran and Egypt, the administration has responded in different ways to the embattled governments in Libya and Bahrain.

"What we're doing is saying, consistently across the board they are universal human rights that need to be respected," said Ambassador Susan Rice.

Senator Lindsey Graham, an influential Republican from South Carolina, said: "I'd like to see regime change in Libya. I'd like to see regime change in Iran. I think we need to be tougher on companies that do business with Iran. But, generally speaking, the administration, I think, has handled Egypt well and is trying to stay ahead of this when it comes to Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."

Meanwhile, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in Saudi Arabia and is expected to visit Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and, possibly, Bahrain. (ANI)

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