25 October 2012

Libya: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Libya


Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing:

QUESTION: The story in Libya and Bani Walid continues to grow in its cruel brutality. And the matter at hand is a systematic slaughter of Bani Walid's population by what used to be anti-Qadhafi rebels for not towing the party line and not supporting Libya's new rule and government quickly enough and with quite open heart. Only yesterday, on Wednesday, 600 local residents --

MS. NULAND: Is there a question here, or is this a political statement that you're making here in the briefing room?

QUESTION: No, no, just a - I wondering, 600 people, local resident, were allegedly killed yesterday --

MS. NULAND: Can you tell me what news organization you're from?

QUESTION: -- and why this - and local appealing for the international aid and an international call, but why this call? Why these massacre completely ignored by the Western community and the - particularly by the U.S.?

MS. NULAND: Where are you from, please? What news organization?

QUESTION: Vera Volokhonovich, RT.

MS. NULAND: From Russian TV.

QUESTION: Russia. Yeah. Yeah.

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, we haven't ignored this at all. We talked about it a number of times here, and we've spoken about it very clearly. We have been urging restraint on all sides, respect for human rights and humanitarian law. We've been calling on Libyan authorities and rebel groups to provide access for humanitarian organizations who are trying to provide humanitarian assistance. And frankly, we can't confirm any of these press reporting of what is actually ongoing there, but we are calling on all sides to exercise restraint.

QUESTION: But why Washington blocked - why did Washington block the statement - draft statement proposed by Russia for the United Nations Security Council resolution, which called for a peaceful solution for this conflict?

MS. NULAND: Well, I can't speak to what may be going on at USUN. I'm not aware of what the Russian statement might have been. I will send you up to our people in New York to discuss that. But our position on this is absolutely clear: We support the efforts of the Libyan Government to get control of militias and to provide security throughout the country, including in Bani Walid, and to do so in a way that is respectful of the human rights of all citizens, and allows humanitarian organizations to get in. So we are watching this situation very closely.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:44 p.m.)

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