Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton travels to Geneva, Switzerland on February 27 to 28. While in Geneva, she will hold consultations with her counterparts on the situation in Libya, and events and trends in the broader Middle East. She will also address the high-level segment of the 16th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Before departing for Geneva, Secretary Clinton spoke with members of the press. The Secretary said, "Let me start by saying as strongly as I can that the United States and the American people support the aspirations and rights of the Libyan people. They are clearly sending as strong a message as they are capable of doing that it is time for Qadhafi to go. We think he must go as soon as possible without further bloodshed and violence.
"We are also very conscious of the actions that have been taken against the Libyan people by the Qadhafi regime. And the Security Council resolution passed unanimously yesterday makes clear there will be accountability for crimes against humanity and war crimes and other atrocities that are being perpetrated against the Libyan people, including a referral to the International Criminal Court. And I want to underscore this unanimous message from the Security Council to those who are around Qadhafi that you will be held accountable for the actions that are being taken and have been taken against your own people.
"The Security Council resolution yesterday was part of a concerted effort that the United States has been lining up and implementing over the last days, both for unilateral and multilateral action. And we will continue to pursue steps aggressively that we believe will make a difference. Obviously, the Security Council resolution, which was passed in record time and included countries that are often reluctant to empower the international community to take such actions, sends a strong, unmistakable signal. The specifics that go to targeted sanctions and arms embargo and other measures are exactly what we have been looking toward and wanting to achieve in this period.
"It also opens the door for humanitarian relief, which is going to be essential -- the numbers of people fleeing across the borders, particularly into Tunisia and Egypt, where those two countries are facing huge humanitarian demands, plus internally displaced people.
"There's also a strong message in the Security Council resolution to countries in the region: You must stop mercenaries, you must stop those who may be going to Libya either at the behest or opportunistically to engage in violence or other criminal acts. And we will be working closely with those neighboring countries to ensure that they do so.
"This change that is sweeping across the region is coming from inside societies. It is not coming from the outside. But each country is different, and each country must deal with the demands of their own people and pursue paths that will lead toward change.
"The United States supports those who are pursuing the path of reform. In particular, His Majesty King Hamad of Bahrain and His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan are engaged in meaningful outreach and efforts to try to bring about the change that will be in line with the needs of the people of their countries. So this is a period of great historical challenge and opportunity, and the United States will be pursuing actions and policies that we believe are in the best interests of the United States and also in the best interests of the region and the world."