WHITE HOUSE —
President Barack Obama is monitoring the situation in the Middle East, North Africa and other areas of the world amid anti-U.S. demonstrations sparked by a film mocking Islam. Obama says the killing of U.S. diplomats in Libya will not deter the United States from projecting its core principles.
Obama kept a close watch on developments as he completed a two-day political campaign trip to two western states.
In Colorado, he paid tribute to U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats killed Tuesday when a mob stormed the U.S. consulate in the city of Benghazi.
Obama repeated his vow to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of American diplomats in Libya and said the losses will not deter the United States in upholding its principles.
"I want people around the world to hear me, to all those who would do us harm," he said. "No act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."
The White House released summaries of Obama's telephone conversations with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and Libyan National Assembly President Mohammed Magarief, in which he sought security assurances for U.S. diplomatic personnel and facilities.
To President Magarief he stressed the importance of cooperation in the investigation to identify those responsible.
President Morsi, according to the White House account, pledged to maintain security for American personnel. Protests continued Thursday outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
Obama also reiterated his rejection of efforts to denigrate Islam, saying there is never any justification for violence against innocents and acts that endanger American personnel and facilities.
Photo Gallery of anti-U.S. protests in Yemen, Egypt and Libya
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a strong condemnation of the amateur film that sparked violence across the region, as she addressed a visiting delegation from Morocco.
"This video is disgusting and reprehensible," she said. "It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence."
Vice President Joe Biden paused before a political campaign speech in Wisconsin to pay tribute to the Americans killed in Libya, saying they gave their lives while working for democracy, partnership and tolerance.
"We will not be run off, we will redouble our work that those courageous Americans had been doing to ensure a more tolerant, more secure world in the interests not only of the people in those countries but in the security of the United States of America," he said.
At an event in Washington on Libya, a senior fellow at The Atlantic Council, Karim Mezran, said all signs point to the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi having been carefully planned.
"There is no doubt now that it was a prepared attack," said Mezran. "Calling it an accident or an incident is preposterous. It went on for hours and nothing like that would have gone on for hours if it was not prepared."
President Obama also continues to be briefed on other situations in which demonstrations against the film mocking Islam broke out, including Yemen where protesters stormed the grounds of the U.S. embassy in Sana'a.