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Posts Tagged ‘Qadhafi’

When the Arab Spring spread to Libya, President Sarkozy was the world leader most vocally in favor of an international initiative to assist the rebels.  By the time Hillary opens this chapter at the March 2011  G-8 meeting in Paris (now G-7 since the ouster of Russia after the invasion of Crimea), she had already evacuated Embassy Tripoli, issued a statement, and  addressed the situation at the Human Rights Council in Munich.  She was still unconvinced an international intervention would be wise.

Her questions:

  1. Would the international community unite?
  2. Who were the rebels?
  3. Were they prepared to lead?
  4. What was the endgame?

Unlike Egypt, the military in Libya and foreign mercenaries were attacking the people under Qaddafi’s orders.  The rebels had formed a transitional governing council and it was their representative, Mahmoud Jibril,  whom Hillary awaited as the chapter opens.

Hillary walks us through a brief history of the U.S. and Qaddafi including the downing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, his disconcerting fixation on Condi Rice, his 2009 visit to UNGA complete with his attempt to pitch his tent in Central Park and his long rambling speech.

Suspension of United States Embassy Operations in Libya

Hillary Clinton: Holding the Qadhafi Government Accountable

We have always said that the Qadhafi government’s future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear. 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. Moammar Qadhafi has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence. The Libyan people deserve a government that is responsive to their aspirations and that protects their universally recognized human rights.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Human Rights Council

Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go – now, without further violence or delay.

On March 9, she met at the White house with the national security team.   There was no appetite for engagement and not much hope that the one option that seemed most likely – a no fly zone – would work.

She mentions testifying before Congress on March 10.  If this was the testimony, the comments she quotes occurred in the Q & A and not in her opening statements, but she did assure Congress that there were no plans for unilateral action.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks To The House Appropriations Committee

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Europe and the Middle East

When Jibril did show up he was in the company of Bernard-Henri Lévy, philosopher, advisor to Sarkozy, and one who. in an Indiana Jones sort of way,  had managed to be on the ground to see what was happening in Libya.  The Arab League had voted to request a no fly zone of the Security Council.  Jibril, in the meeting, warned of imminent slaughter in Benghazi – the seat of the revolution in Libya.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

CNN Video: Bernard-Henri Lévy Validates Hillary Clinton on Libya

Truth time: I have long had an intellectual crush on Lévy. He is an odd mix of philosopher-journalist, and his logic is always superbe! Speaking with Eliot Spitzer on CNN’s In The Arena tonight, he said that we should listen more to Mrs. Clinton.

On the show tonight because he is the one who convinced Sarkozy to take up the free Libyan cause,  he said that he told the French President that there were French flags flying in Benghazi,  and if Sarkozy did nothing, there would be blood on the French flags.  What a dramatic image! Uncomplicated and  true.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Paris G8

 On the ground in Cairo. Hillary mentioned the resolutions before the U.N. Security Council.  There was a weak Russian-Chinese resolution and a strong French-Lebanese resolution.  In the end Lavrov agreed that Russia would not to vote against the stronger one, but would simply abstain – and that was enough. The language of the stronger resolution contained the words “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.   The issue was whether there was to be strictly a no fly zone or whether there was by extension a no drive zone.  Would the attacks be strictly air-to-air, or would air-to-ground  (seen as necessary to stop Qaddafi’s ground troops from attacking rebel strongholds) be permissible?

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby

… with regard to Libya, we welcomed the Arab League’s statement on Saturday. And I consulted with my G-8 colleagues yesterday in Paris. As you probably know, there is a British-French-Lebanese Security Council resolution that is being discussed at this time in New York. We are consulting with the Arab League about their understanding of the goals and modalities of a no-fly zone as well as other forms of support. We understand the urgency of this and therefore we are upping our humanitarian assistance. We are looking for ways to support the opposition, with whom I met last night. But we believe that this must be an international effort and that there has to be decisions made in the Security Council in order for any of these steps to go forward.

After Cairo, she visited Tunisia, went back to DC briefly, and then was wheels up again for Paris.   This time she arrived with an agreement to participate in a no fly zone in her very stylish bag.

In the course of reading her book and digging up the posts from the events, I have learned not to be surprised anymore when her account differs from how it was reported since she is telling the story from the inside while we observed from outside.  She tells this differently, but this is the way it looked to all of us.  We also have become accustomed to Hillary waiving credit for her accomplishments.

Hillary Clinton à Paris : Chapitre Deux

CNN’s John King dubbed her the “Acting President” yesterday, and no less a former adversary than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called her the Commander-in-Chief, saying she was presidential and strong.  Roger L. Simon at Pajamasmedia treated us to this header: Jets over Libya as H. Clinton Assumes Presidency.

The amazing Hillary Rodham Clinton departed Paris on Tuesday on a mission to convince the White House that participating in a No-Fly Zone was the right thing to do to protect the brave Libyan freedom fighters who have risen up against 42 years of dictatorship under the tyrant Mouammar Gadhafi.   In her meetings on Monday and Tuesday, she reportedly responded to repeated requests for U.S. cooperation from various world leaders with the mantra, “There are difficulties.”

But HRC knew exactly what kind of an NFZ she wanted in order for the U.S. not to look like the cliched “world’s policeman.”  She knew exactly how the coalition should be formed,  and how her country should fit in.  So when she returned to D.C. early Friday morning,  after visits to Egypt and Tunisia,  she did so with a mission.  In a Situation Room meeting that morning, she finally scored her victory,  winning President Obama’s agreement to participate in the coalition.

Hillary Clinton’s Press Availability in Paris

America has unique capabilities and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians, including through the effective implementation of a no-fly zone. As President Obama said, the United States will not deploy ground troops, but there should be no mistaking our commitment to this effort.

The international community came together to speak with one voice and to deliver a clear and consistent message: Colonel Qadhafi’s campaign of violence against his own people must stop. The strong votes in the United Nations Security Council underscored this unity. And now the Qadhafi forces face unambiguous terms: a ceasefire must be implemented immediately – that means all attacks against civilians must stop; troops must stop advancing on Benghazi and pull back from Adjabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; water, electricity, and gas supplies must be turned on to all areas; humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

As you may know, French planes are already in the skies above Benghazi. Now, America has unique capabilities and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians, including through the effective implementation of a no-fly zone. As President Obama said, the United States will not deploy ground troops, but there should be no mistaking our commitment to this effort.

Before the end of the month, command of the no fly zone operation was ceded by the U.S. to NATO.

Video & Transcript: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Transition of NFZ Command

In response, the UN Security Council mandated all necessary measures to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone. But the regime’s forces continued their assaults, and last weekend they reached Benghazi itself. We faced the prospect of an imminent humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger. So an international coalition was compelled to act. French planes were the first to reach the skies over Benghazi. Cruise missiles from the United States and the United Kingdom followed, striking the region – the regime’s air defenses and clearing the way for allied aircraft to implement the no-fly zone.

Many other nations have now joined this effort. After only five days, we have made significant progress. A massacre in Benghazi was prevented, Qadhafi’s air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya….

Today we are taking the next step. We have agreed, along with our NATO allies, to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO. All 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for NATO to take on the broader civilian protection mission under Resolution 1973.

Secretary Clinton To Travel to London, United Kingdom

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to London, United Kingdom, March 29 to attend an international conference to discuss the Libyan crisis, including ongoing implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and the humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict.

Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the International Conference on Libya

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and thanks to you and your government for the critical leadership effort you have demonstrated in our common effort. Thanks too to France, which has been at the forefront of this mission, including by hosting many of us last week in Paris, and really thanks to everyone around this table. We have prevented a potential massacre, established a no-fly zone, stopped an advancing army, added more partners to this coalition, and transferred command of the military effort to NATO. That’s not bad for a week of work at a time of great, intense international concern…

We believe that Libya’s transition should come through a broadly inclusive process that reflects the will and protects the rights of the Libyan people. The Transitional National Council and a broad cross-section of Libya’s civil society and other stakeholders have critical contributions to make…

This is a time of great change for Libya, for its neighbors across the region and around the world. Under different governments, under different circumstances, people are expressing the same basic aspirations – a voice in their government, an end to corruption, freedom from violence and fear, the chance to live in dignity, and to make the most of their God-given talents. Now, we know these goals are not easily achieved, but they are, without question, worth working for together. And I’m very proud that this coalition has come to this place at this time to try to pursue those goals.

Hillary Clinton: Remarks After the International Conference on the Libyan Crisis

In late August, Qaddafi fled.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Libya

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Paris

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Paris, France September 1 to participate in a senior-level meeting of the Contact Group on Libya.

Secretary Clinton: A New Future Dawning in Libya

Well, this is my ninth trip to discuss the current crisis in Libya, and each time I have urged that our partners stay focused on the ultimate objective of helping the Libyan people chart their way to a better future. And today, that future is within their reach. All of us are inspired by what is happening in Libya.

Six months ago, Libyans stood up to demand fundamental rights and freedom. And when Qadhafi met their peaceful protest with violence, the Libyan people refused to back down. While their struggle is not over, the Libyan people are taking back their country. Libya’s transformation is the – largely the result of their own courage and their resilience in the face of very difficult days. The sacrifice that the Libyan people have been willing to make in order to obtain freedom and dignity has been extraordinary.

 

The next month Hillary visited Malta and Libya.  Malta, of course, had been a way station for Americans evacuated in February and deserved a grateful visit. From Malta, she proceeded to Libya.

Secretary Clinton: Wheels Down in Malta

 

Landing in Libya, she was apprehensive but received a warm reception from the militia.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli10-18-11-26b 10-18-11-26c U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in TripoliU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures with Libyan soldiers upon her departure from Tripoli in Libya

Mahmoud Jibril, with whom she had met in Paris in March, was the transitional Prime Minister.

Video: Secretary Clinton with TNC Prime Minister Jibril in Tripoli

 I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya. And on behalf of the American people I congratulate all Libyans. It is a great privilege to see a new future for Libya being born.  And indeed, the work ahead is quite challenging, but the Libyan people have demonstrated the resolve and resilience necessary to achieve their goals.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton walks with Jibril, head of Libya's National Transitional Council, before a news conference in Tripoli

One of those challenges was coalescing so many disparate militias into a single military force under civilian authority,  Hillary points out.  Transitional Council leaders agreed with her.  As we know, as of this writing, that never happened and is the reason that today Libya is in chaos with numerous militias battling each other and two parliaments.  Again our embassy is evacuated.

Secretary Clinton’s Town Hall Meeting in Tripoli

A Libyan student asks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a question during a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University in Libya

She also visited a hospital.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets a wounded soldier at a Tripoli hospital during her visit to Libya U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets a wounded soldier at a Tripoli hospital during her visit to Libya 10-18-11-34e 10-18-11-34f

Our embassy had been ransacked.  They were running embassy services and operations out of the Ambassador’s residence.

Secretary Clinton’s Embassy Meet-and-Greets in Valletta and Tripoli

 

Then she was wheels-up and out.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In the book,  Hillary explains that from Malta to Libya and back they flew in a C-17 cargo transport because of the many shoulder-to-air weapons on the ground in Libya and the obvious markings on her plane.  I can attest that these are very visible.  When I lived in Haiti, then U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young visited and flew in a similar plane.  When his flight was leaving I could, from my gallerie, clearly see the words “The United States of America” on his plane as it took off over the Gulf of La Gonave.  My heart burst with pride to see it.  It was wise not to send her “Big Blue Bird” into possible danger.

She notes that on the flight to Libya from Malta this happened.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary ClintonOriginal image by Kevin Lamarque for Reuters.

10-18-11-49Original image by Diana Walker for Time.

Leading to this:  Texts From Hillary

A submission from Secretary Hillary Clinton.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Original image by Diana Walker for Time.

And ultimately this!

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Despite all the fun generated by those pics of Hillary “running the world,”  she left Libya that day soberly worried about its future.

She had been forced in late 2010 to recall Ambassador Gene Cretz, quite a character as portrayed in her book,  because of credible threats against him.  Chris Stevens, an expert on Libya, former envoy to the rebels in Benghazi during the revolution, and very enthusiastic supporter of their cause, accepted the job with gusto. Anyone who has seen his video introducing himself to the people of Libya as the new American Ambassador can see that.

The attacks on our outposts in Benghazi were not the last of the problems engendered by a new government unable to wrangle the many militias.  As I write, Embassy Tripoli is once again evacuated.  Everyone has seen the videos by now.  None of that is for clouded vision on Hillary’s part or anyone else’s.  Our mission, always, is to go to the dangerous places and to try to talk and reason with people.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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While,  for a second time in two attempts at island vacations, the Secretary of State has been chased by a hurricane,  she has nonetheless issued strong statements against terrorist attacks today and yesterday.   In the midst of East Hampton, Long Island, her current vacation spot,  being evacuated as Hurricane Irene approaches the NY metro area, the intrepid SOS made sure that her voice registered regarding recent, horrific attacks.

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 26, 2011

I was shocked and saddened to learn of yesterday’s firebombing of a casino in Monterrey, Mexico. The United States strongly condemns this brutal attack and all acts of criminal violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who were killed and injured.

President Calderon, the Mexican government and the Mexican people have shown great courage and determination in facing the challenges and threats posed by transnational criminal organizations. The United States will continue to assist Mexico’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations in strict accordance with Mexican law and respect for Mexican sovereignty. We stand by Mexico now and always as a committed partner and friend.

I would bet you did not even know that happened.  I did not until I saw the press statement.  Neither did I know about this until I received the press release.

Attack on the United Nations in Nigeria

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 26, 2011

The United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack on United Nations offices in Abuja, Nigeria. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who were killed and injured.

There is no justification for this violence. These individuals were working to promote peace, expand opportunity and build a safer and more prosperous nation. The United Nations has been working side by side with Nigeria for more than five decades and the United States strongly supports its efforts. Vicious terrorist attacks such as these only strengthen our resolve and commitment to the work of the United Nations and the people of Nigeria.

Poor HRC, always getting chased off islands by hurricanes!  Not to mention the reputation she has attained for causing earthquakes by her very presence.  (Yes, some are blaming the east coast earthquake of last week on her having been in DC just prior.  Well, she does rock my world!)

Some of you might remember the last time she tried, officially, to take a vacation and the doings around that.  It was in Bermuda in August 2009 (yes, it has been that long since the last one).   If you do not remember, or never saw the tangential stories of the day, here is the original post about that situation along with a surprise treat for Davey’s fans.

A Special Relationship

The upshot of all that is that we never heard another thing about the Uighurs on Bermuda, but Al Megrahi’s name is in the air again along with his tyrannical and perverted savior and protector who kept a photo album of HRC’s predecessor as SOS, Condi Rice, which totally creeps me out!   It was Scotland’s “bad” to let Al Megrahi out.  So Davey lost that round.   Old times  tend o resurge.

Speaking of surges,  everybody batten down and stay safe.  Make preps and follow advisement.  Love you all.  If you do not see me for awhile, it will be that I have lost power.  Oh, Lord!  Me?  Powerless?  God said, “You always have been!”

Happy Women’s Equality Day.  Hillary won the August 2009 stand-off.  She is still with us.  Davey is gone.  The Guantanamo guys are causing no trouble in Bermuda, and Gadhfi is on his slow way to justice as will be Al Megrahi.

Hillary hunts the bad guys.  I love her style!

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Statement on Libya

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 25, 2011

 The events in Libya this week have heartened the world. The situation remains fluid, but it is clear that the Qadhafi era is coming to an end, opening the way for a new era in Libya—one of liberty, justice, and peace.

We join the Libyan people in celebrating the courageous individuals who have stood up to a tyrant and defended their homes and communities against Qadhafi’s violence.

The United States and the international community have stood by the Libyan people during many difficult days in the last six months. Together, we prevented a massacre, and we supported the people’s efforts to gain their freedom. We will continue to support them as they take on the regime elements that still pose a threat to Libya’s future – and as they address their humanitarian needs and rebuild their nation. The Libyan people made this revolution and they will lead the way forward, but they deserve our help. Libya’s future is not guaranteed. Considerable work lies ahead.

The coming days and weeks will be critical. The United States and its partners are moving quickly and decisively on several fronts.

Earlier this week, I spoke by phone with the Chair of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, to express our support for the TNC’s efforts and to discuss next steps. I also hosted a conference call of foreign ministers of many of the member nations of Libya Contact Group, to coordinate our efforts – humanitarian, financial, diplomatic, and otherwise – on behalf of the Libyan people. Today, the Libya Contact Group held a meeting in Istanbul to demonstrate our continued commitment to Libya and to focus on the urgent financial needs of the TNC. The Contact Group called for an expedited process to lift sanctions on Libyan assets. The United States supports this call.

Today, we have secured the release of $1.5 billion in Libyan assets that had been frozen in the United States. This money will go toward meeting the needs of the people of Libya. We urge other nations to take similar measures. Many are already doing so.

As funds are released, we look to the Transitional National Council to fulfill its international responsibilities and the commitments it has made to build a tolerant, unified democratic state—one that protects the universal human rights of all its citizens. It is critical that the TNC engage swiftly with communities and leaders across Libya to ensure order, provide critical basic services to the people, and pave the way for a full democratic transition. Libya’s future will be peaceful only if the leaders and people of Libya reach out to each other in a spirit of peace. There can be no place in the new Libya for revenge attacks and reprisals.

The TNC also has obligations to the international community. We will look to them to ensure that Libya fulfills its treaty responsibilities, that it ensures that its weapons stockpiles do not threaten its neighbors or fall into the wrong hands, and that it takes a firm stand against violent extremism. At the same time, we call on Qadhafi, his family, and his supporters to bring an end to their continuing violence for the sake of the Libyan people and Libya’s future.

From the beginning, the United States has played a central role in marshalling the international response to the crisis in Libya. Together with our partners, we have saved thousands of lives and helped confront a ruthless, erratic dictator who was poised to slaughter his own people in order to hold on to power. The United States will stand with the Libyan people and our international partners in the weeks and months ahead, to help as Libyans write the next chapter of their history.

I am appending the fact sheet that explains the distribution of the funds for those who would like to know.

Unfreezing Assets to Meet the Critical Humanitarian Needs of the Libyan People

Fact Sheet

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 25, 2011

The UN Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee approved a U.S. proposal to unfreeze $1.5 billion of Libyan assets to be used to provide critical humanitarian and other assistance to the Libyan people. The U.S. request to unfreeze Libyan assets is divided into three key portions:

Transfers to International Humanitarian Organizations (up to $500 million):

  • Up to $120 million will be transferred quickly to meet unfulfilled United Nations Appeal requests responding to the needs of the Libyan people (including critical assistance to displaced Libyans). Up to $380 million will be used for the revised UN Appeals for Libya and other humanitarian needs as they are identified by the UN or other international or humanitarian organizations.

Transfers to suppliers for fuel and other goods for strictly civilian purposes (up to $500 million):

  • Up to $500 million will be used to pay for fuel costs for strictly civilian needs (e.g., hospitals, electricity and desalinization) and for other humanitarian purchases.

Transfers to the Temporary Financial Mechanism established by the Contact Group to assist the Libyan people (up to $500 million):

  • Up to $400 million will be used for providing key social services, including education and health. Up to $100 million will be used to address food and other humanitarian needs.

The United States crafted this proposal in close coordination with the Transitional National Council, as they assessed the needs of the Libyan people throughout the country. It responds to humanitarian concerns in a diversified way that prioritizes key needs. The United States will work urgently with the Transitional National Council to facilitate the release of these funds within days.

Safeguards

The proposal also has a number of safeguards, including a restriction that none of the funds are used for military equipment or activities. Funds given to the United Nations will be subject to existing UN safeguards. Payments for fuel costs will be confirmed by both the TNC and the vendor. Similarly, the Temporary Financing Mechanism incorporates several accounting and procedural safeguards: a Steering Board with TNC and international members (and consensus decision making); regular internal audits and external audits to be conducted by an internationally respected independent auditing firm; and an independent financial management agent (Adam Smith International) to administer the TFM account.

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The Secretary of State released this statement today.

The Human Rights Council’s Special Session on Syria

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 23, 2011

I congratulate the Human Rights Council for its work to create an international independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria and to make clear the world’s concern for the Syrian people. Today, the international community joined together to denounce the Syrian regime’s horrific violence. The United States worked closely with countries from every part of the world – more than 30 members of the Human Rights Council, including key Arab members — to establish this mandate.

The Commission of Inquiry will investigate all violations of international human rights law by Syrian Authorities and help the international community address the serious human rights abuses in Syria and ensure that those responsible are held to account.

There are credible reports that government forces in Syria have committed numerous gross human rights violations, including torture and summary executions in their crackdown against opposition members. The most recent attack by Syrian security forces on protesters in Homs is as deplorable as it is sadly representative of the Asad regime’s utter disregard for the Syrian people.

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the slaughter, arrest, and torture of peaceful protesters taking place in Syria. We continue to urge nations around the world to stand with the Syrian people in their demands for a government that represents the needs and will of its people and protects their universal rights. For the sake of the Syrian people, it is time for Asad to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves.

The State Department posted today’s press briefing in which Victoria Nuland made the following statements about developments in Libya.  Once again everything said on the subject of Libya is included along with a little about Syria.  Those who would like to read the entire transcript can follow the live link below to the text released by the State Department.  All emphasis here is mine.

Victoria Nuland
Washington, DC
August 23, 2011

MS. NULAND: I have nothing at the top, so why don’t we go to – directly what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: Right. Okay. So why don’t you enlighten us as to what’s going on in Libya and your understanding? And also, what’s happening in terms of the diplomacy, in terms of what the Secretary is doing and what other officials are doing? As specific as possible, please.

MS. NULAND: Good. Well, obviously, the battle for Tripoli continues and the ground situation is somewhat fluid, but we have seen some amazing images in the last little while. But there is no question that the Qadhafi regime has nearly collapsed. There is also no question that the best thing he could do for his people would be to relinquish power immediately. We stand with the proud people of Libya at this historic time. Their transition has begun. The Transitional National Council, with whom we maintain daily, hourly contact, is preparing to lead the country through its democratic transition. And we support and echo their calls for national unity at this time, for calm, for no retribution, for no reprisals.

The Secretary spoke yesterday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding the next steps that the UN can take in the planning that it is doing to assist the Transitional National Council and the Libyan people as they prepare for the transition. They talked about support in the areas of humanitarian relief, security assistance if it is requested, the support the UN can and will offer in the area of political and democratic transition support, constitution writing, and especially in the area of support for the rule of law. This transition will have to be Libyan led, it must be Libyan led, but both the U.S. and the United Nations will support the Libyan process and will be guided by the principle that this is Libya’s to lead.

We are also working urgently today, as you may have heard Ambassador Rice say just a little while ago, this week to be able to release between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in U.S.-held frozen Libyan assets. We are working in the UN Sanctions Committee to be able to do this. We want to give this money back to the TNC for its use, first and foremost to meet humanitarian needs and to help it establish a secure, stable government and to move on to the next step in its own roadmap. And we hope this process will be complete in the coming days. There’s quite a bit of diplomacy both in New York, here in Washington, out in capitals. And the Secretary has been involved in this herself, of course, to get this work done in coming days.

QUESTION: Before you get to the money, can you say – you said that what the best thing for Qadhafi can do now is to relinquish power immediately. What power does he have that you see that he can now relinquish?

MS. NULAND:Well, that’s a good question. He doesn’t seem to have much control of anything. It’s interesting that he still hasn’t been seen –

QUESTION: Are you sure that he hasn’t —

MS. NULAND: — are wondering where he’s been —

QUESTION: — relinquished power? I mean, he doesn’t seem to be leading – making any kind of an attempt to lead a —

MS. NULAND: I think what the —

QUESTION: — to lead his people.

MS. NULAND: — what the Libyan people are looking for, what the international community is looking for, is a reliable, affirmative statement not only to the Libyan people and the international community but to his own loyalists that he understands this is over, that he understands that the days of his leadership are over, so that everybody can move on to have the democratic, strong, united Libya that they deserve.

QUESTION: So short of him turning up dead someplace, you would like to see him come out and say, “I give up, I relinquish power,” so that his supporters won’t carry on the fight?

MS. NULAND:Well, that’s certainly what the Libyan people themselves have been asking for.

QUESTION: Well, then that’s what you would like to see.

MS. NULAND: It’s what the Transitional National Council has been asking for. And it’s what the United States has called for, for many, many weeks.

QUESTION: And on the money issue, this between 1 and 1.5 billion, that’s the – part of the liquid assets, right, that are frozen?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: And you said to give back that money to the TNC, but actually isn’t it to give the TNC? It’s not really their money —

MS. NULAND: To give back to the Libyan people, managed by the legitimate governing authority, the Transitional National Council, their own money.

QUESTION: All right. And what’s your understanding of what needs to actually happen at the UN for that? Because yesterday, you were saying that you would prefer not, or you would have preferred not to have to go through the UN. So —

MS. NULAND: Yesterday, I believe what we said here was that we would prefer for the UN Sanctions Committee to take action, but if the UN Sanctions Committee could not act, that we would find ways to do this unilaterally. So the diplomacy goes on. Ideally, the UN Sanctions Committee will make an affirmative decision to allow this money to be released under its own (inaudible).

QUESTION: Can you (inaudible) how you arrived at that $1 to $1.5 billion figure? And would any decision by the Sanctions Committee cover further releases down the line? I mean, is this a point of principle, that they would then sort of roll back that control over the money that would allow you to unfreeze other things as they become liquid?

MS. NULAND: Under the Sanctions Committee’s own rules and regulations, individual participants can appeal, can request of the Sanctions Committee that exceptions be made for extraordinary circumstances – in this case, humanitarian need – and then the Sanctions Committee has to make an affirmative decision. That’s how the committee works. And in the absence of the international community yet having taken the next step, which will obviously be necessary at an appropriate moment, which is to look at, based on what the Libyan people themselves want, what the TNC wants, what aspects of 19 – UNSCR 1973 still make sense, this is the best and fastest route to get relief, to get money, to the TNC, to do it in a way that has the support of the international community.

QUESTION: And the figure, that 1 to 1.5 billion, is that the amount that’s actually liquid in accounts here that could be sent as cash money to them now?

MS. NULAND: It’s a portion. It’s a little less than half of what is liquid. It is our judgment that this is the right amount now to meet immediate humanitarian and governance needs. And again, the question of the onward release of assets will depend on the situation on the ground, will depend on the desires of the Libyan people, what the TNC requests of the UN, et cetera.

QUESTION: So this money —

MS. NULAND: Josh.

QUESTION: Do you believe that – does the Administration believe that this money should be released with the condition of accountability and transparency on the TNC to make sure it’s not diverted for other than humanitarian purposes? And how would that transparency and accountability mechanism work?

MS. NULAND: Absolutely. The TNC has made strong commitments to the United States. It has made strong commitments in support of the UN – U.S. request to the UN Sanctions Committee with regard to the use of the money, with regard to transparency, et cetera. I’m not prepared to go into details here from the podium, but we would not have taken this step if we didn’t have confidence that the money will be used – will get to the people who need it and will be used appropriately.

QUESTION: How do you —

MS. NULAND: And that’s the case —

QUESTION: What gives you that confidence?

MS. NULAND: That’s the case that we’re making to the Sanctions Committee. You know that we’ve been in close contact with the TNC. We have our mission in Benghazi. This has been the subject of discussion at Assistant Secretary Feltman level, at the Secretary’s level in her diplomacy, to ensure before we went to the Sanctions Committee and during this process of convincing members of the Sanctions Committee, that this money would be used properly and would be used for the purposes that we requested its release, namely humanitarian and good governance.

QUESTION: How could you – could you explain to us how this money is released? Does it go to, let’s say, the ministry of finance, the Libyan ministry of finance, or a Libyan bank? Or does it go through an escrow process under supervision?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think this is as far as we can go today on how this might happen, because the discussions continue in New York. The diplomacy continues. So I’m not prepared from the podium today to get into all the nuts and bolts. The most important thing now is that the Sanctions Committee take action in coming days so that this money can get to the Libyan people.

Please.

QUESTION: But your comment seemed to imply that there are some of the Sanctions Committee who are standing in the way of speedy action. Can you – is that true, and who are they?

MS. NULAND: This process is very complicated. It’s very complicated anytime you want to go to the Sanctions Committee and get release, because every individual member of the Sanctions Committee has his or her own national – I mean, each nation has its own laws, has taken the sanctioning action in conformity with its own laws. So the relief has to be reviewed nationally by each country in terms of precedent, in terms of its support for the stated intent. In this case, for its understanding of how the money will be used and whether it’s in keeping with the spirit of the Sanctions Committee relief clauses that you’re trying to exercise.

QUESTION: Madam, just to follow up —

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION:What many people are asking, even within the (inaudible) there in Libya that it has taken too long for the United States to help the opposition or to get Qadhafi out. One, why it took so long because thousands of more people have been killed by Qadhafi regime; and second, now do you believe that you – do you believe and you have confidence in this group now that they will be supporting the fair and free elections and democracy?

MS. NULAND:Well, Goyal, thank you for that opportunity to step back a little bit. As I said, although this situation remains fluid in some neighborhoods of Tripoli, and we all understand that this isn’t over until it’s completely over and until all weapons are laid down and the process of transition completely begins, it’s important to remember that this fight has lasted less than 200 days. It was February 16th, around then, that the protests really began in Libya. Ten days, just a mere 10 days after that, UN Security Council 1970 was passed, which froze the assets of the Qadhafi regime, which imposed the arms embargo and the travel ban, which allowed humanitarian aid to begin to flow. I said yesterday I think that under the President’s leadership, the Secretary, Ambassador Rice at the UN, all of us, have been working to assemble one of the broadest and deepest communities of common action in current memory to address this situation.

So 10 days after the protests begin, you see this first UN Security Council resolution. Thirty days after that, on March 17th, a mere 30 days, UN Security Council 1973, which not only imposed the no-fly zone, but also authorized all necessary means to protect civilians. Just two days after that, the President approved U.S. to begin action to implement that resolution, to use our unique capabilities to take out the air defenses of the regime. And it was just a week after that, March 26th, that the NATO operation was approved and NATO began picking up more and more of this mission. That same week, March 29th, the Secretary proposed, and the international community stood up, the Libya Contact Group. It initially had 20 countries and a number of international organizations. It now has 40 countries, including not only the UN and NATO and the EU, but also the African Union, the GCC, the Arab League, to support the Libyan people, to support the TNC politically, economically, militarily in this fight for transition.

And just a couple of months after this all began, we opened our mission in Benghazi, and then on April 15th you saw the NATO ministers, at the Secretary’s initiative, all call for Qadhafi to go, and that call, obviously, echoed throughout the international community thereafter.

So less than 200 days, one of the broadest coalitions in history – U.S. leadership absolutely essential in galvanizing this community. But again, it’s not over till it’s over. And not only does this community need to help the Libyans finish the job, it’s got to stay with Libya, stay with its government, as it moves through the difficult transition. Because we’ve all seen that sometimes the hardest work starts after liberation when you have to rebuild a state, and in the case of Libya, a state that’s been ruled by a dictator for 40 years.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on the money, please?

QUESTION: You’ve been talking about the credibility of the NTC, and there was an incident last night that undercut that credibility. I know this is military versus financial, but the point is, of course, save Qadhafi, the NTC assuring people that he had been arrested, and then he pops up smilingly after that. So what can you say? I mean, can you trust them if you have information like that? Could you trust it if we take it to the financial part of it? Are they trustworthy?

MS. NULAND: We said yesterday that the situation was fluid, that we were asked by a number of folks whether we could confirm Qadhafi’s location, whether we could confirm the son’s under arrest. We’ve got a little bit of a fog of war situation here, including in some of the reporting on the TNC side that makes – it’s not a surprise given the fact that they are established primarily in Benghazi, they have locations elsewhere in Libya. But until the full leadership of the TNC is able to take root in Tripoli and is able to get its feet under it, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to these fog of war things.

What we are focused on with them is planning for this transition, getting them – working with them as they plan the economic, political, rule of law, security underpinnings of the new Libyan state so that it can lead a transition towards democracy. So in the context of the action that’s going on in New York, our contacts, those of the international community with them have enabled them to think through very systematically how they would use this money. So I think you’re comparing apples and oranges, a stray report in the fog of war, versus real strategic planning that they’ve been doing, that they’ve been doing with a lot of their members on what comes next. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to need our continued support; they are.

QUESTION: Are you briefing members of Congress? Maine Senator Susan Collins says we don’t know enough about the TNC and she expressed concern about their eastern Libyan roots. What are you telling Congress, and how are you assuring them that this is a reliable group?

MS. NULAND: Wendell, we have briefed Congress all the way along. As you know, we’ve had a number of hearings. I don’t have the precise number, but just in the last couple of days, we had a flurry of phone calls with staff and with members, and later on today, there is a broad briefing call with members of Congress so that all of their questions can be answered. But obviously, we want and need members of Congress to have their questions answered, and we’re prepared to work with them. And as we move forward, we hope that they too will have more contacts with the TNC and with members of the Libyan leadership team that has come into Tripoli.

QUESTION: Collins is concerned that the group might be susceptible to extremism in some form. What are you telling them when they express that concern?

MS. NULAND: This has been an issue that the TNC itself has been thinking about and working on from the beginning, and that has been a central subject of our conversation with them from the beginning. We are heartened and encouraged by the fact that the TNC, in all of its public pronouncements, in all of its private commitments to us and other members of the international community, has said that it wants to govern in a transparent, democratic way, that it wants – that it is prepared to meet all of its international human rights commitments, and that it does not want a state led by extremists; it wants a government of national unity that supports the universal human rights of all Libyans. So those are the statements that the TNC themselves have made. That’s what the international community will hold them to going forward.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that?

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: In his remarks on TV a couple days ago, Assistant Secretary Feltman said that the assassination of General Younis highlighted the dangers of Islamist elements in the – among the rebel forces. And I was just wondering, is it the State Department’s conclusion that they were somehow responsible for that assassination, and do you think that that’s a warning sign going forward?

MS. NULAND: I think the fact that the TNC itself decided after that incident that it really needed to conduct an internal audit, that it needed to dissolve its executive committee and refresh its leadership speaks to their commitment to ensure that not only in name, but in action they meet the highest standards of universal human rights and that they present to the Libyan people a governing committee that meets their aspirations for a democratic future, for a future free of extremism and free of any obstacles to the highest standards of universal human rights.

QUESTION: On the financial issue, just a follow-up: I know you said you don’t want to talk in details, but is there a mechanism already in place to monitor where this money is going to to avoid mistakes that happened in Iraq?

MS. NULAND: These are the things that we’re talking about now within the Sanctions Committee. I don’t want to get ahead of decisions there. So I think I’ve said what I can, but clearly, we have worked hard to –with the TNC. They, too, want to learn lessons from Iraq and elsewhere where there have been difficulties in the past, and we have every expectation that if this money is released, it will be used well, and it will get to the people who need it.

QUESTION: My point would be a U.S. committee to oversight or to be in charge of where this money is going.

MS. NULAND: Again, I’ve said what I can on the mechanics of this for today. I think the first thing is to get the action, and then we’ll be prepared to brief a little bit more on the mechanics.

QUESTION: All the assets frozen in U.S. are subject to Sanctions Committee? Because we knew that the total amount of these frozen assets was $30 billion, something like that, and it was a combination of some multilateral sanctions and the United Nations Security Council resolution. So now all this money, $30 billion, are subject to Sanctions Committee only, not a multi – bilateral sanction issue?

MS. NULAND: I didn’t say that. I said simply that in order to release this 1 to 1.5 billion dollars, we would like to do that tranche through the Sanctions Committee. That’s our preferred course. We’re working hard on it in coming days. If we can’t move it through the Sanctions Committee, we’ll have to find other ways to do it.

QUESTION: Wait. Going back to your timeline that you gave in response to Goyal’s question, it was over a month ago that the meeting in Istanbul where the recognition took place, correct?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: So why is it just now that you’re getting around to going to the Sanctions Committee? Because, I mean, at the time the idea was to get that money freed up as soon as possible, and yet it’s taken more than a month to do it. Is it just – were people preoccupied with other developments in other parts of the region? I mean, it seems to me that you could have gone to the Sanctions Committee the Monday after the conference on Friday and said, “Why can’t you do this?”

MS. NULAND: Well, immediately after Istanbul there was some work to get the kinds of assurances that we needed to make the presentation. I would say that the work in the Sanctions Committee has been going on for a couple of weeks, and we’re hoping to bring it to resolution quickly.

QUESTION: But it was just presented today?

MS. NULAND: No. It’s been going on for a couple of weeks.

QUESTION: What was it then that Susan Rice was doing today?

MS. NULAND: Susan Rice simply made a public statement, similar to the statement that I made at the top of the briefing, saying that our hope and expectation is that this Sanctions Committee work will be completed in coming days.

QUESTION: Are you planning direct aid to the TNC, other than frozen assets?

MS. NULAND: If we can get this billion – 1.5 released, that’s a big chunk of money —

QUESTION: I mean, it’s —

MS. NULAND: — and it’ll do some good. And then we have to see where things go in terms of finishing the work in Tripoli, moving on, and deciding about the future of the 1973 regime, et cetera, and led very much by the desires of the Libyan people.

QUESTION: Do you favor sending – having the United Nations send a UN peacekeeping force?

MS. NULAND: It’s – we talked about this yesterday. It’s premature to talk about any of these kinds of things until the TNC has a chance to evaluate its own needs, until it can come forward to the UN with some proposals. But the UN is preparing for all contingencies.

Please.

QUESTION: You talked yesterday about preservation of Libyan institutions. With this last sweep going on, I mean, are there any signs that anybody might be selling off the assets of Libyan institutions or trying to dip into the bank accounts in Tripoli or elsewhere? Is there any reason for concern?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to that here, I think, until the ground situation is a little clearer in Tripoli. One probably couldn’t say one way or the other, but I think the fact that the TNC has called for calm, that we’ve seen calm in the vast majority of the neighborhoods in Tripoli that are under the TNC and the anti-Qadhafi forces control, there has been calm, it gives us hope. But I wouldn’t want to say one way or the other, based on what we know today.

Please, here.

QUESTION: Still on —

MS. NULAND: Still on Libya?

QUESTION: Yeah. The stray report about Saif al-Islam, did – how did you guys find out that he was in fact not in opposition hands?

MS. NULAND: Again, we are not in the business of commenting on every stray rumor in the middle of a ground battle in Tripoli. So I’m not going to get into what we knew when and what we didn’t know, only to say that this kind of stray reporting is not uncommon, as all of you who have covered war zones know. So —

QUESTION: Chris Stevens —

MS. NULAND: I’m looking here at Steve.

Please.

QUESTION: Chris Stevens – I just wondered what – has he made contacts today with the TNC? I mean, what’s been on his agenda today?

MS. NULAND: He has been following up on the Secretary’s call with TNC Chairman Jalil yesterday. He’s been working on all of these issues that we’ve discussed.

Josh.

QUESTION: If the TNC is planning to move its headquarters to Tripoli, will the U.S. team in Benghazi move with it to Tripoli? And what is your thinking about where they will set up? I’m told that the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is uninhabitable.

MS. NULAND: We have to, obviously, assess this on a daily basis. Looking at the security situation in Tripoli, our understanding is that there is some damage to our building, but I can’t speak to whether it’s habitable until we are able to get an advance team in there. We’ll obviously move the Embassy back to Tripoli as soon as we can, but in the meantime, Benghazi’s fully functional. The bulk of the TNC remains there. They, as you say, have said that they will start moving some of their folks west, so we will look and see how that goes as well.

QUESTION: And then do you plan to have an ambassador to Libya, either Gene Cretz or —

MS. NULAND: We have an ambassador. He never —

QUESTION: In Libya?

MS. NULAND: He never stopped being Ambassador to Libya.

QUESTION: Is he going to return to Libya?

MS. NULAND: And the expectation is that when he can, he will.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up. It was raised yesterday, and I’m just wondering if there’s anything further on it – the suggestions not only from Mitt Romney but now from a number of Congress people that the U.S. should be asking the TNC to extradite somehow Mr. Megrahi of the Lockerbie attack. I’m just wondering if those requests or opinions have been lodged with the State Department and if that’s something that you would consider. Is that something that’s possible to do? Have you made any decisions on that?

MS. NULAND:The Secretary has said many times, you’ve heard her say, that Megrahi would be better off behind bars. The Libyan people, the TNC, will obviously have to look at this when they can. We will be in consultations with them. The Justice Department will have the lead.

QUESTION: Well, I’m – so you’re actually saying that you might – that there might be some case to be made? This guy was convicted and served his sentence.

MS. NULAND: This will be —

QUESTION: You’re suggesting that now that you’re going to – that you, who agreed to the UN – to this international court in the first place, will now say that you want this guy put back – brought to the U.S. to be put in jail? I mean, the Scots let him go. But you —

MS. NULAND:I never said anything about the U.S. The Secretary has made clear this guy should be behind bars. The Department of Justice has the lead on these issues.

QUESTION: Right. Well, the —

MS. NULAND: No decisions have been made. We have to let justice do its job here, and we also have to have a Libyan government back in Tripoli before these conversations could happen.

QUESTION: But I thought that the question was about the – was about extraditing him, bringing him to the States, correct?

MS. NULAND: Andy, was it about extradition?

QUESTION: That’s the demand. That was the demand, but I’m interested in any further steps on the Megrahi case.

MS. NULAND: Yeah. I don’t have anything further on details, other than to say that the Secretary thinks he ought to be behind bars and Justice will have the lead.

QUESTION: On Syria?

QUESTION: Can I – I have one more on – you just called – or a little while ago you said that the group of countries that was supporting the opposition was one of the broadest and deepest communities of common action in recent memory. Is that – do I have that right? Yesterday you said it was an unprecedented coalition.

MS. NULAND: I don’t think I called it a coalition. I think I’ve called it a community, but coalition works as well.

QUESTION: Well, the word is – unprecedented is what I’m getting at. And I think that was the word used by some people at the White House as well. Is there a reason that you’re no longer calling it unprecedented? Have you discovered that, in fact, it’s not unprecedented, that it’s just one of the broadest and deepest in recent memory?

MS. NULAND:I heard, Matt, that you were comparing it to the Hanseatic League. I think we can take —

QUESTION: No, no, that was NATO.

MS. NULAND: We can take your comparing NATO to Hanseatic League. I don’t think that I can remember a time, certainly in my lifetime, when we had the UN, the EU, NATO, the GCC, the Arab League, and the AU pulling – AU in some of its member-states – all pulling in the same direction, all supporting the same international action politically, economically, militarily. So I stand by unprecedented. That works.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Just one quick one on Libya. The planning, I presume, is somehow in place, but aside from the money, when you talk about aid to help write constitutions, nation-forming assistance, is there a plan to use NGOs, or would this be, like, U.S. State Department or AID people who might provide that assistance?

MS. NULAND: You’re talking, Jill, about the 1 to 1.5 or are you talking about humanitarian and other assistance?

QUESTION: No, just humanitarian in addition to perhaps the actual financial aid. You were talking about assistance which would be kind of the NGO world assistance. But would the United States, the State Department actually, provide people on the ground or in some capacity who would work with the NTC on writing a constitution, putting elections together, that type of assistance?

MS. NULAND: First of all, before I get to your question, you’re using NTC. We use TNC.

QUESTION: I know.

MS. NULAND: Just to say that for all of you who might be confused out there, the Libyans themselves have used both in their documents interchangeably, so we’re going to continue to call them the TNC. That’s what trips off our tongues, but it’s all the same entity for the world out there.

I think you’re getting a little bit ahead of the game. What we need now, first, is for the TNC representing the Libyan people to come forward with its set of interests in terms of how the international community can help. Our sense of how this should work – and the Secretary discussed this with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday – is that the UN should be the lead international organization for providing the humanitarian, political, economic support, that the nation-states of the UN would then support that effort.

And again, until we have the list, we have to – we wouldn’t be able to speak to how we might play our role. But traditionally in transitional countries, whether you’re talking about support now in Egypt or Tunisia, in the past support in other places, there are some programs that the State Department offers, programs in the areas of rule of law, security support, humanitarian assistance. And there are other programs that we contract through NGOs, et cetera. So I think it remains to be seen.

QUESTION: A follow-up on that timeline. How quickly do you expect the TNC will be able to produce this wish list for the United Nations? And without that, what’s going – what’s the political directors meeting in Istanbul going to do? I thought they were also going to be looking at some of these needs. How are they doing that before, or are you expecting them to have the list on hand come Thursday?

MS. NULAND: The first job is obviously to finish the job in Tripoli, so that’s very much the focus of the TNC inside Libya at the moment. And it’s not going to be able to fully evaluate, I would suspect, all of its needs until it’s fully in charge. That said, the planning, the next phase of planning and thinking about these things, goes forward in Istanbul on Thursday.

Yesterday, I told you that the U.S. delegation would be led by Assistant Secretary Gordon. He will be on the delegation. But yesterday, Secretary Clinton asked her deputy, Deputy Secretary Bill Burns, to lead the U.S. delegation, so he will be going as will Assistant Secretary Feltman, Gordon, others.

And indeed, Andy, that meeting will put together the TNC leadership, the UN, the EU, NATO will be represented, the member countries will be represented, so that we can hear the most updated report from the TNC on what it expects. The UN can talk about how it’s organizing, and this coordination can continue in preparation for the day when we have a more formal request and a more formal UN process.

QUESTION: One more on Libya quickly?

MS. NULAND: Please. Wendell.

QUESTION: In February, P.J. said there were still chemical weapons (inaudible) to the Libyan (inaudible) comfortable with their security then. Are you comfortable with their security now, and why?

MS. NULAND: This will obviously be a priority for everybody, and that’s all I’m prepared to say on that one at the moment.

QUESTION: In Libya, Libyan —

MS. NULAND: Are we finished with Libya still? No?

QUESTION: Hold on.

MS. NULAND: One more Libya?

QUESTION: Can you just expand on that just a bit?

MS. NULAND: I can’t, frankly, because we’re getting into areas of intelligence, so I don’t want to go —

QUESTION: No. But what will obviously be a priority for everybody? What? Exactly what?

MS. NULAND: Ensuring that we have a full accounting, and I don’t think it simply speaks to the question of WMD. It also speaks to the larger question of weaponry, et cetera, ensuring that the governing forces in Libya have full command and control and are – of any WMD or any security assets that the state might have had, and are prepared to meet international obligations and international standards of nonproliferation, transparency, et cetera.

Please.

QUESTION: On Libya, you described Qadhafi regime as near collapse. My question is: Do you see any need or are you taking any precautions to protect the Qadhafi loyalist in the case of total collapse of the current regime?

MS. NULAND: The TNC itself has called for calm, has spoken against retribution, point-scoring, score-settling. We are very supportive of that sentiment. We think it’s very important. We want to see Libyans have the government that they deserve – a government of national unity, a government where all Libyan points of view that are in keeping with international best practices and standards are represented, including the fact that the TNC itself has said that it would be willing to have former Qadhafi loyalists who don’t have blood on their hands be considered in the leadership structure.

So we need to see how this goes forward, but clearly, the TNC is saying the right thing, and we are encouraged by the fact that those parts of Tripoli and other parts of the country that they are managing have not seen reprisals.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the 1970 and 1973 UN Security Council resolutions also can apply to protecting civilians or loyalists? Just to make sure.

MS. NULAND: I think you probably saw today that NATO made a statement that its mission continues until the job is done, until it is confident and has assurances from Libyans that civilians have been fully protected. And we obviously support that.

QUESTION: Syria?

QUESTION: On Syria?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: An Administration official just said that Mr. Asad should learn the lessons of Mr. Qadhafi. What lesson is that?

MS. NULAND: I’m not sure what official you’re talking about or what lesson that —

QUESTION: Well, according to CNN, just a news – breaking news that an Administration official said that Mr. Asad should learn from the fate that Mr. Qadhafi is facing. Could you —

MS. NULAND: Okay. Well, I haven’t seen the report and I don’t know who the official was, but there are any number of lessons that might apply.

QUESTION: Such as —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) opposition formed a national council and another (inaudible). Are you in a position to support them immediately? Do you know who they are? Are you willing to work with them? How does it go forward?

MS. NULAND: We’ve seen these reports that those Syrians in exile, who are meeting in Istanbul, have taken a next step to organize themselves politically. We are, as you know, also watching what’s going on inside Syria with the coordinating committees, and their increasing strength in working together and their commitment to have their own roadmap for Syria’s future. So we support all such efforts, and we also support efforts of Syrians outside and inside to work towards that democratic future.

For the record, the official was Ambassador Rice who spoke to CNN at length from Rome today.

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Earlier today, in a comment thread, I posted a link to an article from a news feed that led me to think that Secretary Clinton would have to cut this very short vacation even shorter to attend a meeting on Libya in Istanbul on Thursday. According to Victoria Nuland in today’s press briefing, that will not be the case. The good news is that while this victory by TNC forces has certainly made an incursion into the Secretary’s  vacation time,  she has succeeded in conducting this business from her vacation rental.  This is not the entire briefing, but I have included everything the State Department is stating publicly about the situation in Libya with a few remarks on Syria.   All emphasis is mine.  The link in the title takes you to the entire press briefing if you would like to read it.

You did the right thing, Mme. Secretary!  Enjoy your well deserved vacation!

Daily Press Briefings : Daily Press Briefing – August 22, 2011
Mon, 22 Aug 2011 16:26:00 -0500

Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 22, 2011

MS. NULAND: Happy Monday, everybody. Eventful weekend for many of you, for many of us. I hope you all saw the President’s statement yesterday on the situation in Libya, that Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of the tyrant, that the regime is near collapse.

I wanted to tell you that the Secretary has been working the phones all morning on Libya. Secretary Clinton spoke first this morning to our special envoy to the TNC, Chris Stevens, and to Assistant Secretary of State Feltman, who was then in Cairo to get an update, to get some assessments from them on the situation in Libya.

She then phoned Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who is chairman of Libya’s Transitional National Council. They discussed the events of the past days and the current situation in Tripoli, where opposition forces now have control over some 90 percent of the city, but the fighting continues. Secretary Clinton conveyed the U.S.’s strong support for the efforts of the Libyans to bring an end to the Qadhafi regime and to begin a new chapter in Libya’s history. She and Mr. Jalil discussed ways that the international community can assist Libyans with the urgent work of protecting civilians and providing key services as well as the TNC’s efforts to assemble an inclusive new government to protect the rights and aspirations of all citizens, and to foster peaceful reconciliation among all of Libya’s people. The Secretary also expressed the firm support of the United States for the people of Libya on all these fronts as well as our enduring commitment to a secure, stable, democratic, and peaceful Libya.

The Secretary then convened a conference call of key members of the Libya Contact Group to discuss the most effective ways for the international community to coordinate its activities and support the TNC and the Libyan people as we move forward. The agenda covered financial support for the TNC and the Libyan people, continuing efforts to ensure the protection of civilians, reinforcing the TNC’s efforts to pursue an inclusive and broad-based Democratic transition, and preparations for immediate needs for essential services and humanitarian relief. They also agreed in that Contact Group call this morning that their political directors will meet later this week in Istanbul to coordinate next steps.

And with that, let’s go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: So the Secretary made these calls from where?

MS. NULAND: She’s in New York at the moment.

QUESTION: Okay. And she spoke to Stevens, who is still in Benghazi, and then Feltman, who was in Cairo? So that was two separate calls?

MS. NULAND: I believe it was a conference call with both of them.

QUESTION: Okay. So does she plan to make other calls?

MS. NULAND: She plans to participate in ongoing internal government consultations and she’ll make other calls as necessary.

QUESTION: All right. Who was on the call with the Contact Group people, and did they talk about this meeting that the French want to host next week? Will she go?

MS. NULAND: The ministers on the call with her this morning, in no particular order, were French Foreign Minister Juppe, Italian Foreign Minister Frattini, German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, Norwegian Foreign Minister Stoere, Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt, Canadian Foreign Minister Baird, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Espersen, The UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, Qatari’s Prime Minister Al Thani, and UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Burt. They did discuss their own next plans for involvement. I think the plan is to have the political directors meet on Thursday and then to decide thereafter on their own involvement.

QUESTION: Okay. So who – two things: Who is the political director for the U.S. right now?

MS. NULAND: This morning – well, the political director for the U.S. in this case, I think that it’ll be – Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Gordon will go to this particular meeting. As you know, we are awaiting the confirmation of the President’s nominee for —

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Shannon was coming – Ambassador Shannon was coming up to undertake the key role. Is that not right?

MS. NULAND: He is going to report for duty this evening, is our understanding. As you know, Assistant Secretary Gordon, along with Assistant Secretary Feltman, has been supporting the Secretary throughout this six months of activity on Libya, so I think it makes sense for him to be our representative at that meeting on Thursday.

QUESTION: And did she actually convene this call, or was it not convened by the French?

MS. NULAND: No, she convened the call. She asked for the call; she convened the call.

QUESTION: Can we go to one of the first points that you made and that has been made in a number of the statements that have been issued by the U.S. Government? And that is this, the call for reconciliation for a government that represents all the Libyan people. How – two questions: One, how afraid are you that we will see unleashed a lot of score settling and violence with the transition from the Qadhafi regime to whatever is going to be the successor power?

MS. NULAND: This has been the subject of quite a bit of thought and work by the Transitional National Council itself. It was the subject of the meeting that Assistant Secretary – meetings that Assistant Secretary Feltman had last week in Benghazi. I think we were quite encouraged by the statement that TNC Chairman Jalil made earlier today or yesterday in which he himself called for calm. He called for reconciliation. He called for a unitary Libya. So these are issues that the TNC has been very focused on. We’ve also been cautiously optimistic by the situation that we’ve seen in the liberated parts of Tripoli so far, but this is certainly something that we are watching, that the TNC is working hard on, because we don’t need any more civilian life lost in Libya.

QUESTION: And then the second thing: You talked about how one of the topics of discussion between the Secretary and the chairman of the TNC, Mustafa Jalil, was ways in which the international community can potentially help, particularly on protecting civilians and providing services. What can the international community do to try to, for example, ensure that there is a credible police presence on the streets in – not just in places like Tripoli or Benghazi, but elsewhere in the country so that there is not a complete vacuum of authority? What exact kinds of things and who might undertake assistance to provide basic services like health, like power, like water, et cetera?

This is not like Iraq of eight years ago when there were almost limitless resources deployed, whether well or poorly. Here, it seems to me the international community has a lot fewer resources at its disposal. Certainly, the United States Government does. And so can you elaborate on how you plan to try to do that, under whose aegis, to try to maintain services and prevent a security vacuum?

MS. NULAND: Thanks for that, Arshad. Well, first of all, I think the international community and the United States have already been helping in the sense that we have seen these transfers of power before. And what we’ve been doing over the past months and weeks is working with the TNC as they work through their own plan for the transition. These issues are very much on their minds – public safety, ensuring essential services, giving the Libyan people continued confidence in a brighter future. So we’ve been working through with them the kinds of things that they might need.

Our sense is that the way this should work is that the Transitional National Council will bring to the international community, through the UN, its desired support requirements from the international community after it assesses what it itself can do. This is – must be and will be a Libyan-led transition. And then the UN will lead a process which the U.S. will very, very much support, of supporting those needs that come forward from the Transitional National Council and from the Libyan people, whether they are in the security basket, whether they are in the humanitarian basket, whether they are in the basket of advice and training and support.

But it’s a little premature right now, while the battle for Tripoli continues, to know exactly how that’s going to take shape. But we’ve been thinking about it, the TNC has been thinking about it for a long time.

QUESTION: Are you open to the possibility, for example, of an international police presence, if that is requested?

MS. NULAND: Let’s start with what the Libyans themselves feel is necessary, what they think they can achieve within their own resources. I think if the Libyan Transitional National Council, representing the Libyan people, came through to the international community requesting support of that kind, there’s a lot of experience around the world in many different places where the international community has provided training, that kind of thing. Let’s wait and see what’s on their wish list.

QUESTION: Another point made in the conference call was financial support.

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: So how’s that moving, the whole process to release the billions of dollars in assets? And surely, they’ll – they’re going to need them much more quickly now.

MS. NULAND: Just in the past 24 hours and certainly in the conference call this morning, we are trying to accelerate our ability to get some essential funding to the TNC, particularly for humanitarian needs, particularly for maintenance of essential services. That work is going on in the UN even as we speak. It’s going on in conversations we’re having with our international partners. And we’re also looking internally at what we can do. I can’t give you a precise answer of how much and when, but know that we are focused like a laser on it now.

QUESTION: It’s just humanitarian funds that are – you’re looking at?

MS. NULAND: Well, we want to start with getting the money that the TNC needs to maintain a strong and stable government, to provide for the humanitarian and security needs of its people, then we will go on from there. But that’s obviously the most urgent thing at the moment.

QUESTION: Why did the —

QUESTION: So, Victoria, just to make sure, so no funds yet have been disbursed to the NTC?

MS. NULAND: No new funds have been disbursed in the last 24 hours. We’re working very hard on what we can do as soon as possible.

QUESTION: So when you say new funds, meaning these – we’re still talking about the frozen assets or which —

MS. NULAND: Correct. Yeah. We’re talking about giving Libyans back Libya’s money.

QUESTION: Because this is an important point. Interestingly, some viewers have been asking why can’t the United States use that money to pay for the operation, the military operation, that American taxpayers have paid for. Could you set them straight?

MS. NULAND: Well, this is Libya’s money that was frozen because it had been under the control of the tyrant Qadhafi. As we are able to unfreeze it, we need to work with the Libyan Government, we need to work with the Libyan people on how they would like this money spent. The first priority, I think, that they will have is for the humanitarian needs of their people to ensure no more Libyans suffer at this time, and we’ll go from there.

QUESTION: But one last question about this: It’s 30 billion, correct, that the U.S. froze?

MS. NULAND: Our assessment of the total value of Libyan Government assets frozen is around 30 billion, but what people need to understand is most of this is not liquid. Most of it’s in property and other things like that that the Libyans themselves would need to decide what to do with. It’s a relatively small portion – I think it’s around 10 percent – that’s actual cash. Otherwise, the Libyan Government will have to make some decisions about the non-liquid assets —

QUESTION: Why did not —

MS. NULAND: — over time.

QUESTION: Why did not the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton include in her conference call the secretary general of the Arab League, I mean, considering that the Arab League early on the step forward that actually allowed for international intervention? She spoke to all these foreign ministers but did not include the secretary general of the Arab League? Is that – was that an oversight or was that —

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that Assistant Secretary Feltman either has just had or is on his way to have a meeting with the Arab League. And we’ve also had outreach through Johnnie Carson to the African Union.

QUESTION: The frozen money for a moment, the frozen assets, just a technical question: Is it the Administration’s position that it must go to the sanctions – the UN sanctions committee in order to be able to release those funds? Or is this something that the U.S. Government can do unilaterally without having recourse to the sanctions committee?

MS. NULAND: We’re working on both tracks at the moment, so stay tuned. We would obviously like to have some ability to get humanitarian relief through the UN sanctions process. That work continues. But we’re also looking at what we can do unilaterally.

QUESTION: But does that mean you haven’t yet figured out whether you can do it unilaterally?

MS. NULAND: I think our preference is to do it through the UN channel, but if that cannot be done expediently, then we will continue to go on and see what we can do unilaterally. But the —

QUESTION: So you do – so you think you do have the ability to do it unilaterally, then? Or you’re just still not sure?

MS. NULAND: There is work ongoing on the various options. We do believe that there is some support we can give to the Libyans through collateralizing and other things. But I don’t want to get ahead of where the experts are going, even today.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: A follow-up to my question: The call for reconciliation, would that include Qadhafi? Or does the United States have a position on Qadhafi’s fate one way or another?

MS. NULAND: With regard to Qadhafi or with regard to —

QUESTION: Yes, Qadhafi himself, whether he’s arrested or –

MS. NULAND: With regard to Qadhafi, with regard to his sons, with regard to those members of the regime with blood on their hands, we have said, the Transitional National Council has said that they must be held accountable. The Libyans themselves have some decisions ahead about exactly how they want to do that, but we want to see international standards of justice maintained in the way that they do that. I would also say that that Transitional National Council has said that those members of the regime without blood on their hands they are open to talking to in the weeks and months ahead as they seek to have unity and they seek to have a smooth democratic transition that represents all Libyans.

QUESTION: Do you have a preference on whether Qadhafi and the two other Libyan officials charged with crimes against humanity are charged by the international – or face the International Criminal Court or are tried in Libyan courts?

MS. NULAND: Again, this is going to be a decision that needs to be Libyan led as we go forward. Our focus is on, that they be brought to justice, that accountability be had for their crimes, and that the judicial process meet international standards.

QUESTION: There have been – there have been many conflict reports about the whereabouts of Qadhafi. What’s your understanding right now, where he is or whether he’s alive or that –

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to get into our intelligence reporting, only to say that, like you, we’ve noticed that he hasn’t been seen in public in quite some time. His last message was a radio message, I think. And there are rumors rampant, as you know, in Tripoli and elsewhere. If he is alive, the best thing he can do for his people is to step down immediately and end this.

QUESTION: And one more question. How was the climate last night and this morning in the State Department? Do you see this change as a vindication of the leading behind – from behind policy or is there any way you can describe the climate within this day here?

MS. NULAND: Well, I certainly regret – I certainly reject the premise of the way you phrased the question. As you know, the President and the Secretary have been very focused on a strong international community response to this Libya crisis, to the support that all of us have given to the Libyan people, to the Transitional National Council as it moves forward using all of the tools at our disposal, maintaining broad contacts with countries in the neighborhood, in the region – GCC, Arab League, NATO, et cetera. So obviously it’s not over till it’s over. But this has been a community of common action, of size and scope that is quite unprecedented in the modern era. That is the way this President, this Secretary believe that diplomacy needs to be done, that that is smart power, but again, we have to finish the job and help the Libyan people have the future that they so want. And we have to finish the job on the ground in Libya and ensure Libya is fully liberated, and then we have to stay with the Libyan people as they work through this transition politically, economically, et cetera.

Jill.

QUESTION: Toria, speaking of that transition, could you walk us through the steps? I mean, if Qadhafi does go in some fashion, we understand then the NTC creates an interim authority, and then the interim authority in turn works with new constitutions, setting up elections. Could you just kind of walk us through ideally how this is supposed to unfold?

MS. NULAND: The Transitional National Council itself has put forward a roadmap of how it wants to see the democratic transition go forward. It did this already a month ago at the last Contact Group meeting in Istanbul. And you have it right, Jill; the idea would be that the Transitional National Council would broaden, become an interim government that would represent a broad cross section of Libyans from different walks of life, different parts of the country, different political backgrounds, and then that interim government would lead a process of writing a constitution, getting to elections.

QUESTION: And elections, we had heard 6, 8 months. Is there any idea of realistic –

MS. NULAND: I think we have to finish the job and let the TNC get its feet under it, and then we’ll be hearing more from them, I would guess, with regard to their timetable.

Please.

QUESTION: So what you said a few minutes ago, does that mean that you don’t think Qadhafi is still in Tripoli or is in Libya at all?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to Qadhafi’s whereabouts. We don’t have any reason to believe that he’s not in Tripoli. But again, he hasn’t been seen, and the right thing for him to do is to show himself and step down, face justice.

QUESTION: Are there any plans to send Chris Stevens to Tripoli or headed that way?

MS. NULAND: We are – for the moment, he’s very busy and active with the TNC in Benghazi. I think we’ll be led by events in Tripoli. We’ll also be led by security conditions in Tripoli. But we are looking at the issues associated with reconstituting the Embassy. But it’s a little bit early for decisions on that.

QUESTION: On Qadhafi’s fate, there has been a lot of calls for refraining from retribution and revenge and so on. Do you also counsel the revolutionaries or the rebels if they catch Qadhafi not to kill him on sight and – but put him on trial?

MS. NULAND: This is what the TNC itself has been saying, that they want him brought to justice. Their position on the human rights situation that they want to preside over is a situation that meets the standards of the international community, and that would mean certainly accountability, but accountability in the courts.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: I’ve got something about – kind of logistical things here.

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: At the beginning you said that you were waiting to hear from the TNC through the UN what their wish list is, what they want to know. But you said before that that whatever – that what they – that the U.S. will very, very much support what they bring to the UN. How can you say that you’ll support it if you don’t know what it is yet?

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously we have to see the list, but we support the international community providing them humanitarian support that they may need, other technical support that they may need. Obviously, we’ve got to see the list —

QUESTION: What kind of – so, yeah. But my suspicion is that you already have an idea of what the elements are on the list and so that’s why you can say that you would support it. So can you tell us what those elements are?

MS. NULAND: As we’ve said, we’ve been working for many weeks. Jeff Feltman has led this process, Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, very much in concert with Chris Stevens, other members of the international community based in Benghazi, all the Contact Group countries, to walk through the kind of checklist with the TNC that transitional countries always have to work through starting with basic human needs, moving on – and physical security, moving on to —

QUESTION: Okay. So —

MS. NULAND: — all of the mechanics of a political process, getting the economy going again. So we have been working through – the TNC has been working through and we’ve been supporting that effort, a full list of the kinds of things that may be necessary.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. NULAND: But of course, until we have a final —

QUESTION: Well, can you give us an idea of what some of those might be or what some of those are?

MS. NULAND: I think —

QUESTION: I mean, are we talking about a police force? Are we talking about like an army corps of engineers or – I’m not suggesting a military component, but engineers going in to repair infrastructure? What is – what are the things – what are some of the things that are on that checklist that you’ve been walking through the TNC with for the past month, month and a half? And I think it started in Abu Dhabi.

MS. NULAND: Number one, humanitarian support; are the – is there anything needed from the international community to ensure that Libyans are fed and clothed and protected, that any medicines, et cetera, or things that might be needed in the fallout from the battle are provided. Number two, what might be needed in terms of any damage to essential services, getting essential services back up and running. Again, you can walk through a checklist, but until you finish the job and get in and see what the damage might be, you can’t – I don’t think the TNC could finish such a wish list.

QUESTION: Two, you can —

MS. NULAND: Three, with regard to support for a political transition, these guys will be writing a constitution for the first time. They’ll be presiding over elections for the first time. The UN has a lot of experience, the international community has a lot of experience supporting countries in that regard.

Public security; the TNC very much wants Libyans to lead in Libyan public security. I think it’s too early to know whether they – as they evaluate the situation after the military operation is over, whether they will need international support in that regard. But the international community around the world has, in the past, provided everything from training to equipment to some surge support for countries in transition. So I think we need to see what the TNC thinks it’s going to need, and I think it won’t know —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: — until it has gotten itself fully in control and has looked around.

QUESTION: All right. And then two less significant things: One, you keep referring it to – as the TNC, the Transitional National Council. Everyone else calls it the National Transitional Council. Are you planning to stay with this? Because it really kind of screws things up when we’re writing —

MS. NULAND: (Laughter.) I’ll —

QUESTION: Or are you going to fall into line with the rest of the – rest of your allies who call it the NTC and not the TNC?

MS. NULAND: I’ll take it under advisement. It may be that they translate from the Arabic differently than we do, but I will note your point upstairs.

QUESTION: All right. And then your – you referred to the leader of Libya as the tyrant Qadhafi. Is this some kind of new formulation that you’re using to – I mean, it sounds kind of cartoonish, like you’re calling him the Dread Pirate Roberts or something like that. Is it intended to make him seem less, I don’t know, powerful?

MS. NULAND: He is less powerful. It’s over for him. This is the word that the President used in his statement last night.

QUESTION: I know. That’s what I’m getting at.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: So was there – it was a conscious choice to start calling him the tyrant Qadhafi?

MS. NULAND: I don’t think that this word ought to be a surprise with regard to this guy and what he’s done to his own people.

QUESTION: Do you think same description can be applied to Asad – Bashir al-Asad as well?

MS. NULAND: We’ve made absolutely clear where we are on Asad. He also needs to go. He has not led a transition, and he continues to brutalize his people.

Are we still on Libya?

QUESTION: I was making a link between Libya and Syria. Do you think the success of this military operation close to toppling Qadhafi can be – or would result in pressure for military support or intervention in Syria?

MS. NULAND: We said last week, we’ll say it again: That is not the preferred option of the Syrian people. They themselves have not taken up arms. They are pursuing their goals through peaceful protests. They are taking the Martin Luther King/Gandhi route to their own future. Regrettably, Asad keeps making promises that he’s going to stop, and over the weekend we had more brutality. So our goal in Syria is to support the Syrian people in getting as quickly as possible to a peaceful transition.

QUESTION: Some of the —

QUESTION: Now in Libya —

QUESTION: Can I follow up?

QUESTION: Libya?

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: Some of the opposition are saying that the U.S. Administration shares their fear that if you arm the opposition in Syria, unlike in Libya, you’ll most likely get a civil war. You’ll have the Alawites on one side and all the other sects on the other. Do you share their concerns?

MS. NULAND: I don’t think anybody thinks that more guns into Syria is going to be the right answer right now. The Syrians themselves don’t want that. So that’s why our focus has been on political and economic pressure.

QUESTION: Finish Libya?

QUESTION: Victoria, you —

MS. NULAND: Still on Libya before we —

QUESTION: Syria.

QUESTION: Well —

MS. NULAND: Two – I have two more on Libya here.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: NATO stated this morning that it is ready to work with TNC. Is the ground troops by NATO – is under any consideration or – and you are – if you are planning to ask any peacekeeping troops from any of your allies right now?

MS. NULAND: My sense is that NATO obviously needs to maintain its vigilance, as it has said, until the situation is stable and peaceful and all of Libya is under the TNC and Libyan people’s control. So that job continues.

With regard to onward future mission for NATO, I don’t think anybody is envisioning boots on the ground, but I think we need to wait and see. NATO has a long tradition of supporting the UN, supporting the European Union, other international organizations in humanitarian relief, other things like that. So let’s just wait and see what’s needed.

Still on Libya, Jill? Yeah, please.

QUESTION: Just one. Mitt Romney says that the – once there’s a new government in place, they should extradite the Lockerbie bomber, Mr. Megrahi. Does the State Department have – at this stage, has it been talking with the NTC about making that demand or request?

MS. NULAND: To my knowledge, we have not. We have been focused on getting rid of Qadhafi and moving on to a democratic Libya.

QUESTION: Would you support it?

MS. NULAND: I’m not prepared to speak to it from the podium here. I think we need to finish the work at hand.

QUESTION: There was another question that I suspect involved whether or not the U.S. had heard from Qadhafi or one of his aides. You said you didn’t want to deal with intelligence matters. Was that the question, and can you answer whether or not Qadhafi reached out to the U.S. and tried to cut a deal in the past day or so?

MS. NULAND: We’ve not heard from Qadhafi himself. There were – as there have been for a number of days and weeks, there have been lots of feelers from lots of folks claiming to represent Qadhafi, including in the last sort of more desperate ones in the last 48 to 24 hours. But none of them were serious because none of them met the standard that we insist on, that the international community insisted on, which is, to start with, his willingness to step down.

QUESTION: You say they were more desperate (inaudible)?

MS. NULAND: More phone calls to more people with more empty promises.

Please.

QUESTION: On Syria?

MS. NULAND: Yes. Are we finished with Libya? Yes, good.

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Interview with Michele Kelemen of National Public Radio

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
February 28, 2011

QUESTION: (In progress) You have targeted sanctions and an arms embargo. What more did you talk about with your partners here about – specifically how to stop this bloodshed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we spoke at some length with our European colleagues because they have a much greater connection with Libya than we do. They have many more economic relationships. They have many more of the assets of the Qadhafi family that are being located in Europe. So they’re going to be announcing their own sanctions, and I don’t want to jump the gun on them. They get to do that for themselves. But I think it will further increase the pressure.

Part of what we’re trying to do is to send a message to those around him that the cost is getting intolerable, that if you want to get out and end the bloodshed, you need to move now. And I think that would be a powerfully delivered message by the Europeans. And also, we are looking at all other options. The decision made by NATO at the North Atlantic Council a few days ago was to direct the military command, the supreme commander in Europe, to begin prudent planning. And that runs across a full range of potential options. So there’s a lot going on.

QUESTION: A no-fly zone?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s on the list of things that need to be considered. It is, in the view of some, a very cumbersome, not very effective approach. It is, in the view of others, an effort worth making. But the military planners are the ones who have to really get into the details of what assets there are, whose assets they are, what would be an appropriate mix, and the like. So it’s one of the many issues that are being examined.

QUESTION: Sanctions work on, sort of, rational people, but this is Muammar Qadhafi that we’re talking about, “the mad dog of the Middle East,” as President Reagan once put it. So I mean, what’s the end game with him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s uncertain, which is one of the reasons why much of what we are doing now is not focused only on delivering a message to him. He has family members, he has close regime supporters, he has business supporters; they have to know there’s a price to pay. The longer this goes on, the more bloodshed and violence there is, the more likely that they are going to be at risk – be at risk physically, be at risk financially, be at risk of not having a place to go. So this is a message not only directed at him – and who knows how receptive he is to it – but it is a clear, unmistakable message, but also to the remaining support system that he has.

QUESTION: The Libyan Government, such as it is, was really built around him. What are you worried about in a post-Qadhafi government or a post-Qadhafi scene?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re worried that there isn’t any institutional support for what comes next. Unfortunately, he did a quite thorough job in destroying and discrediting all the institutions that one would expect to see in a state. Look at the difference between Egypt and Libya. The military in Egypt played a very constructive role in navigating through the protests. It is still managing a government. Qadhafi made sure he didn’t have a strong military that had any respect of the people.

So we are very conscious of the uncertainty that lies beyond Qadhafi. If you look at power centers within Libya, you have mostly a tribal base for that. Somebody told me who has studied Libya that if you look at the opposition, there are monarchists, there are tribal leaders, there are Islamists, there are some representatives of a very small civil society. You really don’t have anyone emerging. But there is an effort in the east around Benghazi to try to begin putting together what is called an executive council, and we’ll be certainly along with others reaching out to them to see how we can help.

QUESTION: Libya is by far the bloodiest of all these changes we’ve seen in the Middle East. What other countries are you really worried about now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that no country is immune, and each country has unique characteristics and is responding in a particular way. As I said in my speech to the Human Rights Council, we see the efforts in Jordan and Bahrain as moving in the right direction. They’re trying to open a dialogue. They’re trying to make reforms. There still is a lot of work to be done, but we support both the King of Bahrain and the King of Jordan. In Yemen, that was already a very fractured society, and what will happen in the future is extremely hard to predict.

One thing the United States knows is that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula poses a threat to the region, to Europe, to us, and that’s where it’s headquartered, in Yemen. So we think that this is still evolving, and it’s way too soon to predict what the outcomes will be.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks, Michelle.

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