President Barack Obama, left, speaks about the situation in Libya with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned the violence in Libya as “outrageous and unacceptable” and said he was dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Geneva on Monday for international talks aimed at stopping the violence.
Obama said he was studying a “full range of options” to pressure Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime to halt attacks against Libyans as violent clashes spread throughout the North African country. He said the options included possible sanctions that the U.S. could take with its allies.
“We are doing everything we can to protect American citizens,” Obama said in brief remarks at the White House, his first public comments after days of violence in Libya.
“We strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya,” Obama said. He spoke in the wake of uprisings in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. The week-old protests in Libya have been met by a far more brutal response from militiamen loyal to Gadhafi.
Obama broke his public silence on the violence after the U.S. succeeded in beginning evacuations of American citizens from the chaotic situation.