News / Africa

International Pressure Grows on Gadhafi to Resign

Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, right, listens as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Security Council after its vote on peace and security in Africa, February 26, 2011, at UN headquarters
Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, right, listens as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Security Council after its vote on peace and security in Africa, February 26, 2011, at UN headquarters

As the violence continues in Libya, international pressure is growing on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

Citing "gross and systematic violations of human rights," the U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to impose sanctions on the Gadhafi government, including an arms embargo.

The resolution, approved on Saturday, also calls on U.N. member countries to freeze assets of Gadhafi and his family and for an international investigation into crimes against humanity for the deadly crackdown that has left hundreds dead.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is prepared to offer assistance to Libyans seeking Gadhafi's ouster. Speaking to reporters Sunday, she mentioned "reaching out" to Libyans as "the revolution moves westward."  

Clinton, who is heading to Geneva to consult with America's allies on further responses to the crisis in Libya, said "it is too soon to see how this is going to play out."

U.S. President Barack Obama has joined the chorus of those calling for Gadhafi's resignation. In a White House statement released on Saturday, Obama said the Libyan leader has "lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for the country by leaving now."

Britain has taken the unprecedented step of revoking the diplomatic immunity of Gadhafi, his sons and other family members. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, in announcing the move on Sunday, also said it is time for Gadhafi to go.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had praise for the action taken by the Security Council which he said "sends a strong message that gross violations of basic human rights will not be tolerated, and that those responsible for grave crimes will be held accountable."

Ban also said "even bolder action may become necessary" in the coming days.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the U.N. Security Council came together to condemn the violence in Libya, demand a stop to the killing, and adopt "biting" sanctions, targeting what she calls Libya's "unrepentant leadership."

Deputy Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations Ibrahim Dabbashi welcomed the resolution, saying it gives "moral support to people resisting" the Libyan government. Libya's U.N. mission is one of several around the world that have turned against Gadhafi.

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