LIBYA: White House suspends U.S. Embassy operations in Tripoli, backs sanctions

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The Obama administration has suspended U.S. Embassy operations in the Libyan capital of Tripoli and plans sanctions against the regime of Moammar Kadafi to pressure him to cease using violence against the Libyan people, White House spokesman Jay Carney announced in Washington.

U.S. government officials are considering ‘a series of steps at the unilateral and multilateral level’ aimed at protecting the restive nation’s people from further human rights violations, Carney said, declining at a White House news conference to provide specifics.


He said the United States would use ‘the full extent’ of its intelligence resources in the region to gather evidence for an international probe into suspected human rights violations by Kadafi in the regime’s deadly attempt at quelling protests.

‘It’s clear that Colonel Kadafi has lost the confidence of his people,’ Carney said when asked if the White House was demanding that the Libyan strongman step down. ‘He is overseeing brutal treatment of his people, fatal violence against his own people, and his legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes of his people.’

Carney said the status quo of violence in Libya ‘is neither tenable nor acceptable,’ but that what to do about it was ultimately up to the Libyan people.

The United States “has suspended the very limited military cooperation it had with Libya,” Carney said.

The United States was expected to press allies at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council later Friday to suspend Libya from the world body. The diplomats also were expected to discuss potential sanctions to constrain Kadafi as he defiantly faces down the strongest challenge of his authority in the four decades he has been in power.

-- Carol J. Williams