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LIBYA: U.S. coordinating response with U.N., allies; bilateral moves not ruled out

February 24, 2011 |  1:19 pm

The deteriorating situation in Libya "demands quick action" and the Obama administration is working with the United Nations and allies to identify options for dealing with the crisis, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday.

President Obama deemed the violence trained on protesters in the North African country "outrageous" in remarks made Wednesday but didn't disclose what measures he thought should be taken.

U.S. officials are "very cognizant" of the economic and security stakes in the confrontation between forces loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Kadafi and swelling ranks of anti-regime insurgents, Carney said. The United States is working to craft an international consensus but hasn't ruled out "bilateral options," Carney said.

A U.S.-chartered ferry sent to evacuate Americans from Libya remained docked at a sea terminal in Tripoli for a second day, a delay for which the State Department blamed rough weather in the region. Speculation intensified among observers, however, that the Kadafi regime might have been blocking the vessel's departure to provide a human shield to protect him from any forceful U.S. intervention.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said "prudent planning for any number of contingencies" was being done among U.S. military leaders but declined to give details.

In Geneva, diplomats gathered before Friday's emergency meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, several calling for Libya's suspension from the 47-member rights forum. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton indicated support for the move to censure Libya for using force against its own people. The proposal met with fierce opposition, though, from some Islamic states as well as from longtime Kadafi allies Russia and Cuba.

—- Carol J. Williams

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