‘Attack on US Consulate an act of terrorism’

Washington: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday termed as “terrorist attack” the assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans including the country’s ambassador to Libya and vowed to bring to justice those who were responsible for it.

“What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought justice the terrorists who murdered the four Americans,” Clinton said in joint press availability with the visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

“We are taking aggressive measures at all of our posts to protect staff, their families along the locally employed people who provide so many important contributions to the works of our missions,” she said before the start of her meeting with Khar.

Referring to the protests in several cities in Pakistan, some of which turned violent, resulting in loss of life, Clinton appreciate the effort of the Pakistan government to protect the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad and consulates in Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi.

However, she emphasized on the need of world leaders to speak out against such violence. Reiterating that the US has nothing to do with the “disgusting” anti-Islam video that has resulted in an outrage in the Muslim world, she said there can be no justification to the violence that is seen in cities across the world. “I want to be clear that the violence we have seen cannot be tolerated. There can be no justification. We have made clear that we do not in any way support provocation. We found the video that is at the core of this series of events offensive, disgusting, reprehensible,” she said.

“That does not provide justification for violence,” she said. Clinton said it is important for responsible leaders and people everywhere to stand up and speak out against violence in particularly against those who would exploit this difficult moment to advance their extremist ideology.

The Secretary of State said the Obama Administration is determined to keep Americans safe anywhere in the world and this is their top priority. In her remarks, Khar appreciated the “very strong condemnation” of the anti-Islam video by President Barack Obama and also by Clinton.

“The condemnation of this blasphemous video which has certainly stroked the sensitivities of the Muslims in the wrong way. Your condemnation has given a strong message that the United States Government not only condemns but has absolutely no support to such blasphemous videos or content anywhere,” Khar said, adding that this message from the top US officials go a long way in controlling the violence.

Clinton’s remarks describing Benghazi attack as terrorism comes a day after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the same.

“It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident,” he told reporters on Friday.