Lalit K Jha
Washington, Feb 22 (PTI) Outraged at the use of lethalforce against peaceful demonstrators, Secretary of StateHillary Clinton has asked Libya to stop this "unacceptable"bloodshed.
"The government of Libya has a responsibility to respectthe universal rights of the people, including the right tofree expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop thisunacceptable bloodshed", Clinton said in a statement.
Noting that the world is watching the situation in Libyawith alarm, Clinton said US joins the international communityin strongly condemning the violence in Libya.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives havebeen lost, and with their loved ones", she said.
"We are working urgently with friends and partners aroundthe world to convey this message to the Libyan government",Clinton said.
US President Barack Obama too has been kept abreast ofthe developments in Libya where reports suggests that thegovernment is using air assets against peaceful protestorskilling more than 200 people according to an unofficialestimates.
"We are considering all appropriate actions", a USofficial said without specifying the measures it iscontemplating with regard to Libya.
"We are analyzing the speech of Saif al-Islam Qadhafi tosee what possibilities it contains for meaningful reform", theofficial said referring to the speech given by the Libyanleader, adding that US will seek clarification from seniorLibyan officials in this regard.
"We continue to raise with them the need to avoidviolence against peaceful protesters and respect universalrights", the official said.
With the situation in Libya highly volatile, US hasordered all non-essential diplomatic staff to leave thecountry and warned US nationals to avoid travel to the northAfrican country as anti-government protests raged.
Amid reports of hundreds of protesters killed, the USState Department''s travel warning urged Americans not to visitLibya while there was a continued threat of violence in thecountry.
"US citizens outside of Libya are urged to defer alltravel to Libya. US citizens in Libya should minimize overalltravel in-country, exercise extreme caution when traveling,and limit all travel after dark", it said.
US citizens not departing Libya should make preparationsto shelter in place", the State Department''s travel warningsaid.