U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminded governments Friday of their “solemn duty” to protect diplomatic missions, amid a wave of anti-American unrest in the Muslim world.
“As I have said before and as is embodied in the Vienna Convention and other international agreements, all governments have the duty, the solemn duty, to defend diplomatic missions, Clinton said.
“They must be safe and protected places,” she said before talks with Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem.
Tens of thousands took to the streets after Friday prayers in the Middle East and Asia to vent their anger over a U.S.-made film ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed and the publication in France of cartoons lampooning him.
U.S. and French diplomatic missions were bracing for the unrest, after the U.S. outpost in Benghazi was attacked by militants last week in an hours-long siege in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed.
Tunisia had banned all demonstrations amid fears of violence and Libya’s second city Benghazi braced for rival demonstrations by a jihadist militia and its opponents.
“We are monitoring events closely today. There is no higher priority for President Obama and myself than the safety of our people,” Clinton added.
“We have taken a number of steps around the world to augment security and to protect our personnel at diplomatic posts and we are working closely with host governments in this effort.”