President Obama spoke out on the protests and violence in Libya Wednesday afternoon. He reiterated his condemnation of the violence by the Libyan government and support for human rights:
Now, throughout this period of unrest and upheaval across the region the United States has maintained a set of core principles which guide our approach. These principles apply to the situation in Libya. As I said last week, we strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya.
He went on to call the “suffering and bloodshed” unacceptable and outrageous. “These actions violated the international norms and every standard of common decency,” Obama said. “The violence must stop.”
The president also made a point to support the rights of the Libyan people to peacefully assembly, to free speech, and “to determine their own destiny”.
“These are human rights. They are not negotiable. They must be respected in every country. And they cannot be denied through violence or suppression,” he said.
He continued: “So let me be clear. The change that is taking place across the region is being driven by the people of the region. This change doesn’t represent the work of the United States or any foreign power. It represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life.”
Moving forward, Obama said his administration will be coordinating a response with countries around the world and preparing “a full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis.”
Earlier Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the president’s silence on Libya thus far was due to a “scheduling issue.”