US renews demand for Gaddafi to step down

2011-07-02 14:00
Madrid - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded on Saturday that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi abandon power after he threatened to launch attacks like "locusts and bees" on Europe.

Clinton, on an official visit to Nato ally Spain, called on the Libyan leader to deliver democracy rather than issuing menaces.

"Instead of issuing threats, Gaddafi should put the well-being and interests of his own people first and he should step down from power and help facilitate a democratic transition," she said.

Clinton, speaking in a news conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiminez, was asked about Gaddafi's warning on Friday that the Libyan people could one day strike Europe.

"The Libyan people are capable, one day, of taking the battle to Europe and the Mediterranean," Gaddafi said in a speech broadcast by loudspeaker to loyalists in Tripoli.

"They could attack your homes, your offices, your families could become legitimate military targets because you have transformed our offices, headquarters, homes and children into military targets which you say are legitimate," Gaddafi said.

"If we decide to do so, we are capable of throwing ourselves on Europe like swarms of locusts or bees.

Asked about the threat, Spain's foreign minister vowed to keep up the pressure on Gaddafi.

"The answer of Spain and the international coalition is to maintain the unity and determination with which we have been working in the past months," Jimenez said.

"We are working together to protect the Libyan people from the threats and violence that Gaddafi is employing against them. We will stay until we achieve our goals."

The allies intend to carry out the United Nations resolution to protect the Libyan people "and allow the Libyan people to fulfil their legitimate aspirations to live in peace", Jimenez said.

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Read more on:    nato  |  muammar gaddafi  |  hillary clinton  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  libya protests
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