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Time for Gaddafi to leave power: Clinton

Washington: Asserting that Muammar Gaddafi has lost the confidence of his people, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said it is time that the Libyan leader should go without further bloodshed and violence.

"We have always said that the Gaddafi government`s future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear," she said in a statement.

"When a leader`s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now," she said echoing the view of President Barack Obama.

Clinton, who is headed to UN Human Rights Council in Geneva tomorrow, said she has taken a number of steps including revoking the US visas of Libyan diplomats and denying any fresh applications.

Yesterday, Washington took action to limit the ability of senior officials of the Gaddafi regime to travel.

"As Secretary of State, I signed an order directing the Department to revoke US visas held by these officials, others responsible for human rights violations in Libya, and their immediate family members. As a matter of policy, new visa applications will be denied," she said.

The step followed President Obama`s Executive Order freezing assets and imposing financial sanctions on members of the regime, and the suspension of the very limited defence trade with Libya.

Clinton said the US strongly condemns the ongoing violence and human rights violations committed by the Libyan government against its own people.

These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. They must stop, she demanded.

"We are moving quickly on a series of steps to hold the Libyan government accountable for its violation of human rights and to mobilize a strong response from the international community."

Clinton said the US is working with its friends and partners to mobilise a strong and unified response from the international community to hold accountable the perpetrators of these unacceptable violations of universal human rights.

"This afternoon I continued close consultations with our European allies, including EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. Negotiations are underway at the United Nations Security Council on a resolution that would impose new sanctions and restrictions."

The Secretary of State said that she would tomorrow meet with a number of counterparts in Geneva and address the UN Human Rights Council, which on Friday recommended suspending Libya`s membership.

"Consistent with the President`s guidance, we will continue to look at the full range of options to hold the Libyan government accountable and support the Libyan people," Clinton added.

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