On March 17, the UN Security Council voted to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Ambassador Susan Rice, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, discussed the passage of the resolution, which she said, was designed to protect civilians and strengthen the pressure on the Qadhafi regime.
Ambassador Rice said, “[T]he U.S. is very pleased with today's vote and with the strong provisions of Resolution 1973. This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Qadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop, and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely.
"This resolution was designed to do two important things: protect civilians as well as strengthen the pressure on the Qadhafi regime through a substantial tightening of sanctions. Provisions for enforcement of the arms embargo, a ban on flights in and out of Libya with, in particular, a focus on those that may be carrying mercenaries, the designation of additional individuals and core Libyan-owned government companies for asset freezes, and a range of other very important measures. Taken together, the elements of Resolution 1973 are powerful and they ought to be heeded by the Qadhafi regime."
In response to a question from a reporter, Ambassador Rice said, “We think that today's resolution is a strong message that reemphasizes what was already in 1970. As many of our colleagues you heard today on the Council said, and as the United States has said repeatedly, Qadhafi has lost his legitimacy. There is no justification for his continued leadership now that he has perpetrated violence against his own people. We have had the opportunity, as you acknowledged, to meet with the opposition, and we are actively looking at what options might follow."
You can read Ambassador Rice's complete remarks here.