WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will talk to the leaders of Britain and France on Thursday about the crisis in Libya as Washington kept all options open, including sanctions and military action.
The United States is working to build consensus for action against Libya’s government, which Obama has condemned for “outrageous” violence against its own people.
“I‘m not ruling out bilateral options,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said when asked whether the United States was considering military steps. “I‘m not ruling anything out.”
He said the situation in the North African oil-producing nation “demands quick action.”
A chartered ferry to evacuate Americans from Libya remains docked in Tripoli with 285 passengers on board, including 167 U.S. citizens and 118 people of other nationalities, the State Department said.
The ferry, whose departure has been delayed for more than a day by rough seas, was expected to leave within hours if the weather permits, it said.
Obama will discuss sanctions and other options with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron later on Thursday, Carney said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will fly to Geneva for a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday, where she is expected to push for broad condemnation of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s bloody attempt to suppress a revolt.
Critics accuse the United States of reacting too slowly to Libya’s unrest but analysts say the measured approach reflects Washington’s wariness of being seen as acting on its own in a region where many harbor deep suspicions of U.S. motives.
“I think that the administration is conscious of the need not to be way out front in a unilateral fashion on this,” said Charles Reis, director of Rand’s Center for Middle East Public Policy and former senior State Department official.
“There are considerable risks to a more high-profile U.S. approach. It sets up a target.” (Editing by Doina Chiacu)