The situation in Libya is getting worse as it becomes increasingly apparent that Colonel Gaddafi is willing to see a huge death toll rather than give up power over the country he has ruled for 41 years. Reports that he has ordered the destruction of oilfields underline the potential threat to world security.
Other governments have been focused on getting their citizens out of Libya – and as US citizens prepared to be evacuated, Barack Obama broke his silence, condemning Gaddafi’s actions and threatening sanctions.
Hillary Clinton is flying to Europe to discuss what actions the international community can take to stop the violence. Western leaders are united in condemning the bloodshed, and have variously called for sanctions and a no-fly zone over Libya. Meanwhile, the Arab League has suspended Libya, but has not vocalised any criticism.
Here is a summary of who has said what so far:
The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.
Obama said he has asked his administration for a list of options on how to respond to the crisis.
This includes those actions we may take and those we will co-ordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we will carry out through multilateral institutions.
The news we’ve had from Libya yesterday and today is worrying and the speech by Colonel Gaddafi this afternoon was very, very frightening, especially because he virtually declared war on his own people
We urge the Libyan government to halt immediately the use of violence against its own people, and if the use of violence does not cease then Germany will exhaust every possibility to exert pressure and influence on Libya.
She added that if the violence did not stop “we would then speak in favour of sanctions against Libya”.
[I am asking] European partners to rapidly adopt concrete sanctions so that those who are implicated in the violence know that they must bear the consequences of their actions. These measures should include the possibility of making people face justice, blocking access to the European Union, and the surveillance of financial movements.
The continuing brutal and bloody repression against the Libyan civilian population is revolting. The international community cannot remain a spectator to these massive violations of human rights.
Speaking to al-Jazeera, the Prime Minister condemned violence but was vague about whether to impose a no-fly zone or sanctions. It is likely that this position will toughen if and when British citizens are evacuated (a process that has now begun), when the government no longer has to worry about antagonising the Libyan regime.
Sanctions are always an option for the future if what we are seeing in Libya continues. Of course, if Libya continues down this path, there will be a very strong argument [for sanctions].
On military action, he said:
I do not think we are at that stage yet. We are at the stage of condemning the actions Colonel Gaddafi has taken against his own people.
Meanwhile, the former foreign secretary David Owen became the first British politician to call for a no-fly zone, telling the Today programme that he believed UN planes would already be on alert.