UPDATE - Wednesday 5:30pm EST. President Obama finally spoke out about the violence and killings in Libya. While Mr. Obama made many strong statements about the deplorable killings of protesters, what should be noted is what he did not say. The President never mentioned Muammar Qaddafi by name. The question remains, WHY?
Additionally of interest on the question of why it took so long? WH Press Secretary Jay Carney lets us know it was a "SCHEDULING" ISSUE.
The original story appears below.
As Human Rights Watch reports 223 citizens have been killed protesting on the streets of Libya, an Italian news agency claims that number is more than four times higher with over 1000 dead in the streets, cut down by government troops.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Wednesday that estimates of 1,000 people killed in Libya during violent protests against the government.
Since last Friday's brief written statement from the President, decrying Libya's violence against it's citizens, Mr. Obama has been silent as the bodies pile up in the streets. The State Department did issue orders on Monday for family members of embassy personnel and non-essential workers to leave the country and Secretary of State Clinton said the following:
"I think that the message today is very clear and unambiguous from the entire international community. There is no ambivalence. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the violence must stop and that the government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of all of its citizens, and to support the exercise of those rights."
A strong statement, but NOT a Presidential statement. And Obama was out in public yesterday, appearing in Ohio speaking to small business owners, but made no mention of the four biggest stories of the day. Mark Knoller from CBS was in the audience and noted the omissions in a tweet:
The BBC reports that Peru was the first country to cut ties to Libya because of their attacks on protesting citizens. Peruvian President Alan Garcia was very clear in his statement:
"Peru expresses its most energetic protest at the repression carried out by the Libyan dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi against his people, who are demanding democratic reforms to change a government led by the same person for 40 years."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy stood up two days ago condemned the violence in Libya, calling it "an unacceptable use of force." Sarkozy also urged the European Union to stand up and impose economic sanctions on Gadhafi.
After Obama's speech yesterday in Ohio, new press secretary Jay Carney was questioned about the President's silence. He deferred to previous statements and said that he did not anticipate the President addressing Libya.