Obama Says ‘People of Libya Must Be Protected’

By Dschabner

Mar 19, 2011 1:22pm

ABC News David Kerley reports:

With French fighter jets flying over Libya, President Obama interrupted his visit to Brazil to be briefed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a phone call, and then tell the world the allies will move swiftly against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s attacks against civilians.

In Brasilia, standing next to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Obama said the allies emerged unified from a meeting in Paris.

“Our consensus was strong and our resolve is clear: the people of Libya must be protected. And in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians, our coalition is prepared to act and act with urgency,” the president said, in the middle of his comments about the growing ties between Brazil and the United States.

Clinton spoke in Paris less than an hour later. She accused Ghadafi’s government of saying one thing and doing another. While Gadhafi’s government said it had declared a ceasefire, Clinton said “aggressive actions” have been taken by Gadhafi forces.

“We heard the words,” the Secretary added. “They are not true.”

Gadhafi forces have been moving on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi apparently hoping to secure the eastern city for the allies launched military strikes.

Clinton said French jets were flying over Libya as the Paris meeting was under way. It’s unclear if U.S. forces have been involved so far. What is clear is that the United States wants to take the lowest profile possible for a “no-fly zone.”

“We did not lead this,”  Clinton said, adding that there was no unilateral action by the United States but “strong support for the international community.”

– David Kerley

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