Clinton: We prevented Srebrenica in Libya

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the world had prevented a massacre of the sort seen in 1995 in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica through the intervention in Libya.

Speaking at a memorial service for Richard Holbrooke, the hard-charging late US diplomat who brokered an end to the Bosnia war, Clinton renewed US vows of support for the Libyan people facing attacks by leader Moamer Kadhafi.

"The world did not wait for another Srebrenica in a place called Benghazi," Clinton said at the American Academy in Berlin, which Holbrooke co-founded.

"Instead, we came together in the United Nations to impose sanctions, a no-fly zone and an arms embargo and protecting civilians.

"In a single week, we prevented a potential massacre, stopped an advancing army and expanded the coalition," Clinton said.

"We didn't have Richard to advise us in Libya, but we had his principles to guide us. And we did work hard to bring the international community together -- and quickly."

Around 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Serbian forces in the 1995 massacre of Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of World War II.

The United States supported Britain and France in the nearly month-old operation against Kadhafi, launched out of alarm that Kadhafi would carry out wide-scale killings of civilians and fighters who rose up against him.

But the United States has resisted French-led pressure to supply more planes, saying it will play a limited role amid a heavy US commitment in Afghanistan and residual military role in Iraq.

Despite Clinton's remarks, the United States and other nations have voiced fears for the safety of civilians in Libya -- particularly in the country's third city of Misrata, which the government has declared a "danger zone."

Holbrooke, a former US ambassador to Germany, had most recently served as the special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He died suddenly in December at age 69 after falling ill during a meeting with Clinton.

© 2011 AFP

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