ABC News' Kirit Radia reports: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that the United States and its international partners are “actively considering” a imposing a no-fly zone in Libya, where leader Moammar Gadhafi is accused of using airpower against protestors that seek his ouster. Clinton said the no-fly zone was among the options she discussed today in Geneva where she held talks with allies on how to step up the pressure on the Gadhafi regime in order to end the violence.
“As we’ve said a no fly zone is an option we are actively considering. I discussed it today with our allies and partners and we will proceed with this active consideration. What I said in my remarks, that all options are on the table, or another way of saying it no option is off the table, that of course includes a no fly zone,” Clinton said at a press conference after addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council and huddling with key allies.
Clinton said that she and her foreign partners discussed ways to pressure Gadhafi and his inner circle without harming the Libyan people.
“We are very aware of the need to block access to resources and access that the Libyan government, particularly Gadhafi and his family could get a hold of, to continue his reign of violence against the Libyan people. At the same time we are well aware of the need to keep resources flowing into Libya so that the people themselves can use them to meet their specific needs to be able to organize themselves,” she said.
Clinton said that most available steps were “more in the European theater than actions we could take” and that “I think in the coming days we’ll see the EU take additional steps to try to prevent Gadhafi regime from having access to resources going forward.”
She said the United States was not considering any military action inside Libya, despite its naval resources in the Mediterranean, though she added that the US was preparing for humanitarian rescues as desperate Tunisians and Libyans take to the high seas to flee unrest and economic paralysis at home for opportunities in Europe.
Clinton said the US would soon be “reaching out to recognized voices in the opposition who are assuming responsibility and doing what we can appropriately to assist them.” She also said the United States would try to help get humanitarian aid into Libya, and at the borders with Egypt and Tunisia where refugees have gathered.
Asked if the US would welcome Gadhafi fleeing into exile, Clinton said that would be good to end the violence, but said the international community still seek to hold him accountable for the violence.
“We want the violence to end and if the violence could be ended by his leaving and ending the killing of so many people who are trying to assert their rights, that might be a good, a good step, but of course we believe accountability has to be attained for what he has done,” she said.
Clinton was asked about Gadhafi finding safe haven in Zimbabwe and replied: “I was almost rendered speechless with the idea of he and Mugabe together.”