, NEW YORK, Sept 25 – In a round of intense diplomacy in the wake of violent anti-US protests, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met a series of Muslim leaders and urged people to work together against extremists.
“All of us need to stand together to resist these forces and to support the democratic transitions under way in North Africa and the Middle East,” Clinton told a donors forum.
“Unity on this throughout the international community is crucial because extremists around the world are working hard to drive us apart.”
She was addressing a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, founded by her husband, former president Bill Clinton, at which she praised the Libyan people in Benghazi for rising up last week against armed militias.
Residents drove out the militants blamed for a September 11 attack on the US mission in which ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, at the start of a wave of protests in which around 50 people have died.
“The people of the Arab world did not set out to trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. There is no dignity in that,” Clinton said, before she met with the leaders of Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt.
“The people of Benghazi sent this message loudly and clearly on Friday when they forcefully rejected the extremists in their midst and reclaimed the honor and dignity of a courageous city.
Libya’s new authorities have now launched a crackdown after the massive anti-militia protests in Benghazi when hundreds of people stormed the bases of militias, sparking clashes that left 11 dead and dozens wounded.
And on Monday, at their first face-to-face talks, new Libyan leader Mohamed al-Megaryef vowed to Clinton that his country would not be a burden to the international community.
Clinton has launched an official review into the events in Benghazi, including whether security measures were properly implemented, amid allegations the State Department failed to adequately protect its diplomatic staff there.