During a special briefing at the Department of State on March 25, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz spoke about current events in Libya. Ambassador Cretz said:
"I'm here to discuss the situation in Libya today and what the United States and its coalition partners are doing to stop the brutality and bloodshed of the Qadhafi regime, bent on denying its people universal rights that are the birthright of people everywhere.
"My embassy team was evacuated from Libya on February 23rd and has been reconstituted in Washington. They're playing an active role in providing information, analysis, and assistance based on their experience. At best, we're trying to find clarity about a place that, in the best of times, can only be described as opaque. Now, it is exponentially more difficult, as you all know, including your own personal experiences, to get the kind of precise information that we would like.
"Let's discuss how we got here. On February 17th, a brave group of Libyan citizens decided that they no longer wanted to live under a repressive regime which denied them their most basic universal rights for over 41 years. In response to the Libyan people peacefully protesting for their universal rights, the Qadhafi regime unleashed a bloody wave of violence and oppression, slaughtering its own citizens.
"The consequences of those barbaric actions was the exodus of tens of thousands of Libyans and foreigners, and we in the international community rushed at first instance to provide assistance at the Tunisian and Egyptian borders. Since that time, we have provided humanitarian assistance, we've helped those workers get back to their countries, and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya.
"The Libyan people appealed to the world to help stop these barbaric attacks, and the international community spoke with one voice to condemn them and to respond. The Arab League and the GCC called for urgent action, and the UN Security Council mandated all necessary measures to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone. We also implemented -- we, the United States -- our own unilateral response, including sanctions to the Qadhafi regime's atrocities.
"It became clear that Qadhafi and his henchmen had no intention of ceasing the violence and bloodshed, and as the Secretary said last night, we faced the prospect of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe in Benghazi. By his words, by his actions, and certainly by his past deeds, we had to take Qadhafi at his word when he threatened to go house to house and to wreak revenge against the people of Benghazi.
"The international coalition was compelled to act. The coalition's effort over the past week garnered the support and the active participation of nations who recognize the significance of coming together in the international community to address the situation in Libya.
"The Libyan people must be allowed to have a voice. Ultimately, it is the Libyan people themselves who will forge the path forward for Libya. Our immediate goal is to ensure we provide the humanitarian assistance and protection they need in order to achieve their aspirations."
You can read the full transcript of the briefing here.