March 18, 2011

Kerry on Libyan Ceasefire: “We must hold Qaddafi accountable for results, not just rhetoric.”

Washington, DC -- Following President Obama’s remarks on Libya, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued this statement:

“President Obama’s stern ultimatum to Qaddafi is the right message. There must be a full cessation of hostilities immediately. The cease-fire announcement just hours after the UN Security Council made clear our refusal to stand by and watch a massacre, shows that when the world speaks with one voice, it can make a difference.

“But Qaddafi has proven repeatedly that he will do and say anything to hold onto power. We need to see results and not just rhetoric. In other words, President Reagan’s old maxim demands revision: ‘don’t trust -- verify.’

“It is actions that matter from the international community as well: if Qaddafi does not comply with the requirements of the UN resolution, we must be prepared to take robust action with our NATO partners and the Arab League to enforce it. The Obama administration’s deft diplomatic efforts that built a strong international coalition to enforce tough measures against Qaddafi have been essential.  

“The bottom line remains that Qaddafi has lost all legitimacy and determined international pressure will remain imperative to ensure that the will of the Libyan people prevails.” 

Attached is an op-ed by Chairman Kerry that appeared in The Washington Post on March 11 calling for urgent efforts to build international support for a no fly zone in Libya. In the op-ed, Kerry stated: “Perhaps the mere threat of a no-fly zone will keep Gaddafi's pilots from using their helicopters and fighter jets to kill their own people. If it does not, we should be crystal-clear that we will lead the free world to avoid the senseless slaughter of any more Libyan citizens by a mad man bent on maintaining power. We should also make clear that the United States - just as we did in Bosnia and Kosovo - is taking a stand against a thug who is killing Muslims.”  

Kerry first urged preparations for a no-fly zone on March 2 during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing in his opening statement.

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