Rosenthal and Clinton resolved on Libya

In Washington DC yesterday, foreign minister Uri Rosenthal met with his American counterpart Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At a joint press conference after their meeting, Mr Rosenthal and Ms Clinton said that both the United States and the Netherlands are firmly committed to promoting freedom, tolerance, democracy, human rights and the protection of religious minorities.

They also said that the challenge now is to enable these values to take root in the Arab region.

Mr Rosenthal and Ms Clinton spoke at length on Libya and expressed their grave concern about the humanitarian situation there. Both were resolved on promoting change. Mr Rosenthal emphasised the importance of the three-track approach in raising pressure on Colonel Gaddafi: military action to protect civilians, political support for the aspirations of the Libyan people, and rigorous enforcement of sanctions against the regime.

On Syria, Mr Rosenthal remarked that it was ‘unthinkable’ for Syria to become a member of the Human Rights Council. ‘The US and the Netherlands will do their best to prevent that happening.’

Both Ms Clinton and Mr Rosenthal believe that women can fulfil an important role in the Arab region’s transition process. They issued a joint statement that should lead to concrete action to empower women and girls. The two countries’ aid efforts will be aimed at cooperation with local organisations.