Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed reporters after participating in the Libya Contact Group Meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on June 9, 2011. Secretary Clinton said, "...[T]oday's successful Contact Group meeting was a powerful statement that our coalition remains united and committed. We reaffirmed there is only one way forward for Libya, attacks against civilians must stop, Qadhafi must go, and the Libyan people deserve to determine their own future.
"We continued our ongoing dialogue about steps we can take to protect the Libyan people, pressure Qadhafi to hasten his departure, and lay the groundwork for a successful transition to a unified, democratic, Libya. On each of these goals, we are making progress and we have increased the pressure on Qadhafi. But as long as he continues his attacks on his own people, our military mission to protect them will continue.
"We are pleased that NATO extended the mandate of Operation Unified Protector for another 90 days. We have stepped up the pace of our strikes and added British and French attack helicopters to our arsenal. With coalition backing, the people of Misrata have expelled Qadhafi's forces from their city and they are bravely standing against those forces which, unfortunately, are renewing an assault.
"We are escalating the political, diplomatic, and financial pressure on Qadhafi, and his isolation is deepening. The list of former officials who have now abandoned him is growing. He's lost two foreign ministers, an interior minister, ambassadors to the United States and UN, an oil minister, and five generals, and just this week his labor minister defected as well. The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has sought arrest warrants for Qadhafi, his son Saif, and the intelligence chief Senussi. And we've again begun to see brave protestors taking to the streets of Tripoli.
"We have very good reason to believe that time is on our side, so long as we sustain the pressure. Since our last Contact Group meeting in Rome, Russia and many others have joined the chorus of nations working to achieve Qadhafi's departure from power. We recognize the important role that the African Union and African states are playing, and we are consulting closely with them and welcome the recent statements from South Africa, Gabon, Mauritania, and others. The old tactics of divide and rule that Qadhafi mastered in Libya will not work with the international community.
"Our support for Libya's Transitional National Council is also deepening. The United States views the Transitional National Council as the legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people during this interim period. We expect to see Libyans coming together to plan their own future and a permanent, inclusive, constitutional system that will protect the rights of all Libyans. This is in stark contrast to the Qadhafi regime, which has lost all legitimacy to rule. The TNC is the institution through which we are engaging the Libyan people alongside our work with civil society.
"We are all working to put the TNC on firmer financial footing. We've taken steps in the United States to license oil sales by the TNC, and we're pleased that an American company was able to make a purchase, which was delivered yesterday. To help the TNC secure credit, we embrace the idea that a future Libyan government should honor any financial obligations that the TNC assumes on behalf of the Libyan people. We welcome today's announcement that the temporary financial mechanism has been activated for this purpose. Already, Kuwait announced it will transfer about $180 million, and Qatar will transfer 100 million through this mechanism. We are also continuing to provide non-lethal supplies and working to deepen all of our relationships.
"Finally, we will continue to work to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Libyan people, including those who have fled the violence into neighboring countries. And yesterday, a group of bipartisan United States senators announced they had agreed on a framework to use Libyan assets frozen by the United States to provide humanitarian aid to the Libyan people, and we look forward to the Congress passing that legislation so we can begin to implement it.
"And also today, we announced $26.5 million of new funds to help all victims of this conflict, bringing the American total to nearly $81 million.
"We're optimistic also about the Libyan information exchange mechanism, which will serve as a clearinghouse to match in-kind contributions of non-lethal assistance with the most urgent needs of the TNC. We welcome Italy's announcement that the mechanism is now in operation.
"This is a moment to reaffirm our commitment to our common purpose and continue our progress together, and that is exactly what we did today in Abu Dhabi. Libya is not, however, the only country in the region in the midst of extraordinary changes, and I took the opportunity today to consult closely with a number of our partners on the full range of regional challenges. We spoke about how more we can pull together to support the historic transitions underway in Tunisia and Egypt, which remain critical priorities for the United States. Our European and regional partners are sustaining their focus on supporting Tunisians and Egyptians.
"We also talked about the rapidly evolving situation in Yemen. We continue to urge all sides to honor the ceasefire, and we support an immediate, orderly, and peaceful transition consistent with Yemen's constitution. Violence is not the way forward, and Yemen's instability is a challenge for us all. The Yemeni people need a government that addresses their needs and aspirations.
"And finally, we discussed ways to support the Syrian people and sharpen the choices facing the Asad regime. Syrians took to the streets to demonstrate peacefully for a government that respects their rights, reflects their aspirations, and is accountable. What they have received instead has shocked not only Syrians but people around the world. We are working with our partners in the international community to bring an end to the violence and to support political and economic reforms. President Asad may try to delay the changes underway in Syria, but he cannot reverse them.
"This is a remarkable and very busy time. In each of these and other countries, there is simply no going back to the way things were, and yet the full story of each of these transitions remains to be written. All of us are humbled by the risks and the rewards of this moment. A great deal of hard work lies ahead and we must get it right. So speaking for the United States, we will continue to work closely with our partners to help the people of Libya and throughout the entire region navigate this season of change and arrive at a better future destination."
You can read a complete transcript of the Secretary's remarks here.