The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. told me this morning that the U.S. will “keep the pressure” on Col. Moammar Gadhafi, but the Obama Administration is not yet ready to outline how it’s going to step up the military pressure on his regime.
“We are in discussions with our allies and NATO and elsewhere about planning for all sorts of military contingencies including a no-fly zone and should we decide that it is necessary to take the step we will proceed with the proper international steps that go with that including consultations at the United Nations,” Susan Rice said on “GMA.”
Nor is the administration prepared yet to cut all diplomatic ties with the Libyan regime and formally recognize the provisional government of the opposition.
“We have put in place a global arms embargo preventing [Gadhafi] from resupplying. And so we will keep the pressure on. With respect to the opposition we are in a dialogue with all aspects of Libyan society, civil society, leaders who oppose the regime,” she said. “But to be candid there has not yet coalesced a clear cut unified opposition. So it is premature at this stage to talk about recognizing or providing any material support to such an opposition.”
Rice called the Libyan dictator “frankly, crazy” for his behavior, such as denying there were protests against him to my colleague Christiane Amanpour and laughing when asked if he would step down.
The crisis in Libya has affected the price at the pump at home. Gas rose 19 cents in one week – the second highest jump in more than 20 years.
The ambassador suggested that the U.S. is working behind the scenes with Saudi Arabia and other producing states to keep the oil flowing – and hold gas prices down.
“We obviously would like to see production at a level that keeps prices steady, and we are obviously working with our partners to ensure that that’s the case,” she told me.
Watch the interview here: