Washington, DC – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement today in response to the attacks on civilians ordered by President Qadhafi:
“The Qadhafi government’s use of deadly force against its own people should mean the end of the regime itself. It's beyond despicable, and I hope we are witnessing its last hours in power. Libyans should have the opportunity to choose leaders who respect their basic rights.
“The question now is what can be done to send that message clearly and effectively. While it's true that America has less influence in Tripoli than elsewhere in the region, we're not without options, particularly in partnership with the broader international community. World leaders must together put Colonel Qadhafi on notice that his cowardly actions will have consequences.
“First, while Qadhafi himself is irredeemable, his senior military commanders need to know that their acquiescence in atrocities could open them to future international war crimes charges.
“Second, all American and international oil companies should immediately cease operations in Libya until violence against civilians ceases. The Obama administration also should consider re-imposing U.S. sanctions that were lifted during the Bush era.
“Third, United Nations leadership is on the line. Libya's mission to the UN bravely condemned their own government. Now UN action is critical. Today's emergency session of the Security Council should condemn the violence and explore temporary sanctions, including an arms embargo and protection for Libyan civilian centers. The United Nations should immediately remove Libya from the Human Rights Commission, appoint a special rapporteur on human rights conditions in Libya, and authorize the distribution of emergency humanitarian supplies.
“Fourth, the Arab League and African Union have an opportunity to create a new precedent in response to the crisis in Libya. American credibility was on the line with a key ally in Egypt, and President Obama acted with determination. Today, the world is watching how the region’s leaders will respond to Libya. The Arab League can demonstrate that after the popular uprisings across the region, the old rules of impunity no longer stand. And the African Union can vigorously investigate reports that African mercenaries are involved in the atrocities in Libya.
“These are concrete steps that must be taken now and in the days ahead to show that the world will respond with actions not just words when a regime wields reprehensible violence against its own people.”