Rice Echoes Obama, Calls on ‘Delusional’ Qaddafi to ‘Step Down’

by Robert Costa

Washington — Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, fielded questions this afternoon about the situation in Libya. She called on Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the embattled Libyan leader, to “step aside” and called his recent media appearances “delusional” and “disconnected from reality.” She chided Qaddafi for “laughing” while he “slaughters” his own people.

Rice said that the Obama administration will continue to freeze the assets of Libyan officials and push for further sanctions. With regard to implementing a no-fly zone, Rice said the president was “actively” and “seriously” considering that option. Military action, she said, is on the table, but noted that it would be “premature” to discuss it. U.N. talks, Rice said, have not included active talk of oil sanctions.

Qaddafi allies, Rice warned, should “think about the choice” before them and relinquish power as soon as possible. Quick self-exile, added press secretary Jay Carney, is something that the administration would readily accept.

Rice also defended the administration’s response. She said the “situation has evolved” and that the Obama team has been “very, very clear” about being “morally clear” in their policy and “swift” in action.

Rice addressed the press after meeting with the president and Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, at the White House.

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