President Obama broke his silence on the violence in Libya Wednesday, saying "the suffering and bloodshed is outrageous."
Speaking in the Grand Foyer after meeting with Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump warns against Syrian refugees: 'A lot of those people are ISIS' Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans Bush World goes for Clinton, but will a former president? MORE, Obama blasted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi — but without using the longtime dictator's name — for violating "international norms and every notion of common decency."
"These are human rights," Obama said. "They are not negotiable."
The president stressed that the unrest in Libya and the rest of the Middle East "is not simply a concern of the United States."
"The entire world is watching," Obama said, repeating a phrase he used during recent protests in Egypt.
Obama made clear in his brief remarks that he prefers a unified international effort speaking "with one voice" to stop the violence and hold the Libyan government accountable.
The president has tasked Bill Burns, deputy secretary of state for political affairs, to make several stops in Europe and in the Middle East to consult with other nations. Obama is also sending Clinton to Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday where she will meet with foreign ministers at the Human Rights Council.
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Obama also sought to make clear the United States is not instigating an overthrow in Libya or any other Middle Eastern country.
The president read a statement from one Libyan who said, "we just want to be able to live like human beings."
"It is the most basic of aspirations that is driving this change," Obama said. He added that the United States will "stand up for freedom, stand up for justice and stand up for the dignity of all people."
The State Department is continuing to work to evacuate Americans from Libya, and Obama said that protecting American citizens in the regions is "my highest priority."
"The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable," Obama said.