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Saturday, February 26, 2011

President Obama Remarks On Libya

President Obama remarked once again on the current events happening in Libya.

Said President Obama, "The Libyan government’s continued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people, and outrageous threats have rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of the international community. By any measure, Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable. These sanctions therefore target the Qaddafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya."

Obama spoke earlier today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, to discuss the situation in Libya and coordinate efforts to respond to developments and ensure appropriate accountability.

The President stated that "when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now."
Going forward, the President said, the United States will continue to closely coordinate our actions with the international community, including our friends and allies, and the United Nations. We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights, and a government that is responsive to their aspirations. Their human dignity cannot be denied.  

The President submitted a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate regarding Libya Sanctions.
 
The letter is quoted below:  
Dear Mr. Speaker:  
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the "order") that takes steps with respect to the situation in Libya.

I have determined that the actions of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates, including extreme measures against the people of Libya, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The order declares a national emergency to deal with this threat. The order blocks the property and interests in property of persons listed in the Annex to the order, who I have determined meet the first or second of the six criteria set forth below.
The order also provides criteria for designations of persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
 *to be a senior official of the Government of Libya;
*to be a child of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi;
*to be responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or to have participated in, the commission of human rights abuses related to political repression in Libya;
*to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of the activities described above or any person whose property and interests in
property are blocked pursuant to the order;
*to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or
*to be a spouse or dependent child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order. In addition, the order blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Libya.
I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the order. All executive agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the order.


Additionally, the Secretary of State is suspending all existing licenses and other approvals for the export of defense articles and services to Libya.

The order, a copy of which is enclosed, became effective at 8:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 25, 2011.

Sincerely,
BARACK OBAMA
--

During Friday's briefing, Press Secretary Carney gave the following update on US involvement during the Libyan crisis:

The State Department has suspended embassy operations in Libya and will temporarily withdraw all embassy employees from Tripoli.  A ferry with approximately 200 U.S. citizens left this morning.  A charter plane recently took off for Istanbul, Turkey, with remaining embassy personnel and American citizens who had requested evacuation. 

The President spoke to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, and in separate calls with Prime Minister Sarkozy of France, Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom, and Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy where he explained the unilateral measures that the United States is implementing, and noted his desire to coordinate on measures that our allies are considering. He will continue these consultations to build international consensus for strong measures in the days to come.

The US has suspended military cooperation it had with Libya.

On Monday, the President will meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington and will discuss the diplomatic, legal and other actions needed to put a stop to violence against civilians in Libya.  He will also discuss the range of activities that U.N. agencies and the international community can undertake to address the significant humanitarian needs created by this crisis.


More on Qaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi, has been the leader of Libya since a coup in 1969.

From 1972, when Gaddafi relinquished the title of prime minister, he has been accorded the honorific Brotherly Leader and Guide of the First of September Revolution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in government statements and the official press.
 
With the death of Omar Bongo of Gabon on 8 June 2009, he became the longest serving of all current non-royal national leaders and he is one of the longest serving rulers in history. He is also the longest-serving ruler of Libya since Libya, then Tripoli, became an Ottoman province in 1551. Gaddafi is reported to have amassed a fortune for himself and his family of 60 billion dollars, including shares in Tamoil and one of Italy's largest banks Unicredit. In 2008 a group of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers proclaimed Gaddafi King of Kings of Africa.
 
Libya, home to several oil reserves, is the fourth largest country in Africa, by area, and the 17th largest in the world.

In February of this year, major political protests (inspired by recent similar events in Tunisia, Egypt and other parts of the Arab world) broke out in Libya against the government of Gaddafi, which quickly turned into a full-scale revolt. Since February 20th, the unrest had spread to Tripoli. 

Related
Timeline of the Libyan revolt.

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