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Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in an Explanation of Vote on UN Security Council Resolution 1973, March 17, 2011

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
March 17, 2011


March 17, 2011


AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President. Today the Security Council has responded to the Libyan people’s cry for help. This Council’s purpose is clear: to protect innocent civilians.

On February 26, acting under Chapter VII, the Security Council demanded a halt to the violence in Libya and enabled genuine accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity by referring the situation to the International Criminal Court. We adopted strong sanctions that target Libya’s leadership. We have also strongly supported all aspects of UN Special Envoy al-Khatib’s mandate. But Colonel Qadhafi and those who still stand by him continue to grossly and systematically abuse the most fundamental human rights of Libya’s people. On March 12, the League of Arab States called on the Security Council to establish a no-fly zone and take other measures to protect civilians. Today’s resolution is a powerful response to that call—and to the urgent needs on the ground.

This resolution demands an immediate cease fire and a complete end to violence and attacks against civilians. Responding to the Libyan people and to the League of Arab States, the Security Council has authorized the use of force, including enforcement of a no-fly zone, to protect civilians and civilian areas targeted by Colonel Qadhafi, his intelligence and security forces, and his mercenaries. The resolution also strengthens enforcement of the arms embargo and bans all international flights by Libyan-owned or -operated aircraft. The resolution freezes the assets of seven more individuals and five entities—including key state-owned Libyan companies. The resolution empowers the newly established Libyan Sanctions Committee to impose sanctions on those who violate the arms embargo, including by providing Qadhafi with mercenaries. Finally, the Council established a panel of experts to monitor and enhance short- and long-term implementation of the sanctions on Libya.

The future of Libya should be decided by the people of Libya. The United States stands with the Libyan people in support of their universal rights.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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