Gaddafi would be accountable for violence in Libya: Obama

Barack Obama
Washington, Mar 7: Sending a tough message to Muammar Gaddafi, US President Barack Obama today said that the Libyan leader would be held accountable for any violence that happens in the country now.

"I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Gaddafi. It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place there," Obama said in a joint press availability with visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in the Oval Office of the White House.

"In the meantime, we've got NATO, as we speak consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya," he said.

In addition, the US has taken the lead on a host of humanitarian efforts, as the country appeared to be now entering into a civil war, with violent clashes being reported between forces loyal to Gaddafi and pro-democracy people.

Obama said he has just authorised an additional USD 15 million that will be provided to aid organisations that are already on the ground.

"We've been coordinating with the UN, which now has a number of personnel on the ground as well, to make sure that people are getting the help they need, and we are in a position to respond to any additional emergencies that may arise out of the situation there," Obama said.

"The bottom line is I think, Australia and the US stand shoulder to shoulder in sending a clear message that we stand for democracy, we stand for an observance of human rights, and that we send a very clear message to the Libyan people that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continuing suppression of democratic ideals that we''ve seen there," Obama said.

The US President said he had a discussion about the situation in the Middle East.

"I think Prime Minister Gillard and I both share a very firm conviction that the violence that's been taking place and perpetrated by the government in Libya is unacceptable.

Australia joined with us in imposing swift and firm sanctions, comprehensive sanctions, against the government. We continue to monitor the violence there," Obama said.


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