Libya row tenses Clinton; a call to stop unre

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Hillary Clinton
Washington, Feb 2: Libya uprising is now haunting the entire world. Expressing her outrage at the use of lethal force against peaceful protestors in Libya, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked the Libyan Government to take steps to end the violence.

"There is no ambivalence; there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the violence must stop and that the government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of all of its citizens and to support the exercise of those rights," Clinton told reporters at a joint press availability with Latvian Foreign Minister, Girts Valdis Kristovskis at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

Noting that the US is watching developments in Libya with grave concern, she said America has joined with the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya.

"We believe that the government of Libya bears responsibility for what is occurring and must take actions to end the violence," she said.

Clinton expressed concern over the safety and well-being of Americans in Libya right now.

"We are in touch with many Libyan officials directly and indirectly and with other governments in the region to try to influence what is going on inside Libya," she said.

"As we gain a greater understanding of what actually is happening -- because the communication has been very effectively shut down and we''re trying to gather as much information as possible -- we will take appropriate steps in line with our policies, our values and our laws.

But we're going to have to work in concert with the international community," Clinton said in response to a question.

The State Department on Monday had ordered US embassy family members and nonemergency personnel to depart Libya, and they will depart over the next few days.

"The safety of all American citizens in Libya remains our paramount concern. At our embassy we have approximately, you know, 35 employees and their families who are affected by this ordered departure," State Department spokesman P J Crowley said.

US is having a number of conversations with the Libyan authorities over the weekend and Clinton herself was engaged with many regional and European leaders.

The Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman had multiple conversations over the weekend with Libyan officials, including its Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa.

The US has been in touch with other leaders in the region, and there is a united view here.

"We view the situation in Libya with grave concern," Crowley said.

At the same time, Crowley asserted that it is for the people of Libya to decide on the nature of their governance.

"Just as we have said quite carefully in each of these cases, it''s not for the US, you know, to choose the leader of Libya or the leader of any other country. It is for the people of Libya who are standing up and protesting the policies and actions of their government," he said.

"Certainly we can see that there is a contrast between the decisions made by Egyptian security forces in response to these protests, and the contrast is very stark between the responsibilities in government," Crowley said.

PTI

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