US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Geneva on Monday for top-level talks aimed at developing a transition plan for Libya.
Speaking to reporters on route to Geneva, Clinton said the United States would lend its help to any plan designed to smooth the transition to a “Libya after Gaddafi”.
But she insisted that the US was not involved in any negotiations for the departure of beleaguered Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
Clinton said the international community must develop both a political and humanitarian response to the Libyan crisis “at the moment when the Libyans try to organise themselves for after Gaddafi”.
Clinton is holding meetings with the foreign ministers of several European and Arab countries, before attending a session of the UN Human Rights Council.
An aide to Clinton said the Geneva talks would add political weight to UN sanctions taken against Libya. The aide said Washington had doubts about Gaddafi’s “rationality”, and international pressure was as much designed to influence his entourage.
“The people around Gaddafi are those who we are really looking to influence,” by making them understand they will be subject to international justice should they order violence against civilians, the aide said.
In the 17 days since the uprising began, anti-government protesters have taken control of Benghazi, Libya’s second city, as well as several other major towns in the east of the country.
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Aided by loyalists, Gaddafi retains control of parts of the capital Tripoli, where he is waging a fierce gun battle with anti-government demonstrators.