Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the Security Council Stakeout, on Resolution 1970, Libya Sanctions

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
February 26, 2011


Ambassador Rice: Good evening, everyone. Tonight, the international community has spoken with one voice. Resolution 1970 imposes tough and binding measures that aim to stop the Libyan regime from killing its own people. We want to thank the delegation of the UK for its skillful leadership of this effort in the Council. And we’re very pleased with the outcome, and also with the unity of purpose that the Council has showed in acting quickly and decisively in accordance with its responsibility to protect.

It’s worth noting that this is the first unanimous Security Council Resolution to refer a case of heinous human rights violations to the International Criminal Court. Finally, it’s also worth noting that the Security Council has not finished its business. It will keep these sanctions under review and strengthen or modify them as the situation evolves. I’m happy to take a couple of questions.

Reporter: Madame Ambassador what’s the significance? You say this is the first resolution that is passed unanimously that refers a case to the ICC, but what’s the significance being the first resolution of referral sponsored by the United States?

Ambassador Rice: Well it’s very significant that the Council has acted so swiftly, and in unanimity around what are some outrageous and heinous crimes that are being committed by the government of Libya against its own people. The United States and all the members of the Council felt that what is transpiring is absolutely unacceptable and demanded an urgent and unanimous response. We are pleased to have supported this entire resolution and all of its measures, including the referral to the ICC. We are happy to have the opportunity to co-sponsor this and we think that it is a very powerful message to the leadership of Libya that this heinous killing must stop and that individuals will be held personally accountable.

Reporter: What’s your next step in the immediate future to help the people of Libya on the ground?

Ambassador Rice: Well we have as a Security Council today imposed tough and binding measures to prevent the flow of arms in and out of Libya, to freeze the assets of the leadership who are committing these atrocities, to prevent the travel of those same people and those that are supporting them. These are all very specific and concrete measures designed to end the violence and enable the people of Libya, as I said in the Security Council, to continue to be able to express themselves freely and now without violence, to be able to enjoy the universal rights of people around the world that deserve to have protection. And the Council stood firmly and resolutely with the people of Libya in respect of those universal rights.

Reporter: Given the fact that this regime has totally flouted any international norms, how do you intend to enforce any of the resolutions so that this regime is not able to kill the people at will as it is doing? And that has to be done swiftly, because it doesn’t seem they are listening at this time.

Ambassador Rice: Well that’s a very pertinent question. First of all, I can’t remember a time in recent memory when the Council has acted so swiftly, so decisively, and in unanimity on an urgent matter of international human rights. So this in itself is mightily important. Secondly the resolution puts in place some very concrete enforcement mechanisms, a sanctions committee, panels to enforce and review these measures which we have learned are effective in helping the Security Council ensure the effective implementation of its resolutions. I think all members of the Security Council are united in their determination that these sanctions work, that they work as swiftly as possible, and that they have the intended effect of stopping the violence against innocent civilians.

Thank you very much.


PRN: 2011/035