The United States is working with the Libyan opposition leaders to meet the aspirations and needs of the people of Libya, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said here.
“We are in direct contact with members of the opposition here in the United States, in Libya, in other countries. We are working with them to determine what assistance they actually are able to use and asking for so that we can figure out how best to support their aspirations,” Ms. Clinton told reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department during a joint press conference with her Chilean counterpart.
“We are also suspending the Libyan embassy in the United States. We will not accept representatives from the Qadhafi regime representing them in Washington. We think all of this is adding up to significant pressure,” she said in response to a question.
Ms. Clinton said the U.S. is providing a lot of assistance to support the humanitarian needs.
“We have helped to repatriate people who have fled from Libya. We are getting resources in cooperation with a lot of other partners to provide support for the Libyans who are waging this very difficult struggle. We are positioning our own people on the borders to figure out how much more we can do, and we are pursuing a range of military options,” she said.
But, it’s important to underscore this takes time to prepare and plan, she noted.
“We are very supportive of this week’s meetings in NATO. We are pursuing 24/7 surveillance, and we are taking steps to enforce the arms embargo,” she said.
On Thursday, NATO agreed to increase maritime assets in the central Mediterranean and to move ahead with detailed operational planning for humanitarian relief and for even more active enforcement of the embargo.
“We are continuing to plan for the full range of possible options, including a no-fly zone. And these plans will be presented to NATO on March 15th,” she said.
When asked if there is an actual trigger for military action, Ms. Clinton said she is not going to respond to that because trying to plan is the first and most important undertaking and there is an enormous amount of planning going on.
“But it’s very challenging, and I think we ought have our eyes open as we look at what is being bandied about and what is possible in order to make good decisions,” she said.