US threatens action against Libya

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 21 (PTI) Strongly objecting to the useof lethal force against peaceful demonstrators, the UnitedStates in a strong condemnation on Libya�s crackdown onprotesters today said that it is considering all appropriateactions in response.

US President Barack Obama, was briefed by theNational Security Advisor, Tom Donilon, last night on thedeveloping situation in Libya and he is being kept up to speedon events today.

"We are considering all appropriate actions," a USofficial said without specifying the measures it iscontemplating with regard to Libya.

"We are is analysing the speech of Saif al-IslamQadhafi to see what possibilities it contains for meaningfulreform," the official said referring to the speech given bythe Libyan leader, adding that the US will seek clarificationfrom senior Libyan officials in this regard.

"We continue to raise with them the need to avoidviolence against peaceful protesters and respect universalrights," the official said.

Earlier the US Sunday expressed its grave concernover the current situation in Libya.

"The United States is gravely concerned withdisturbing reports and images coming out of Libya," StateDepartment spokesman, P J Crowley said.

While the US is working to ascertain the facts, butit has received multiple credible reports that hundreds ofpeople have been killed and injured in several days of unrest� and the full extent of the death toll is unknown due to thelack of access of international media and human rightsorganizations, he said.

"We have raised to a number of Libyan officials,including Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, our strongobjections to the use of lethal force against peacefuldemonstrators," Crowley said.

We reiterated to Libyan officials the importance ofuniversal rights, including freedom of speech and peacefulassembly.

Libyan officials have stated their commitment toprotecting and safeguarding the right of peaceful protest,"Crowley said.

The State Department spokesmen called upon theLibyan government uphold that commitment, and holdsaccountable any security officer who does not act inaccordance with that commitment.

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