The United States is not taking any options off the table with regard to its response to the violence in Libya, including potential U.S. military action, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday.
He said the U.S. was moving forward with plans to impose sanctions and cut diplomatic ties with Libya in response to violence there as Muammar Gaddafi's security forces stepped up efforts to crush a widening revolt against his rule.
Carney told a news conference that Washington would also curtail its limited military cooperation with Libya and that the United States supports suspending Libya from the United Nations.
Carney said the U.S. is finalizing that process Friday. He said the U.S. is also working with European partners on additional sanctions and other multilateral actions that could be taken.
The announcement Friday comes as hundreds of Americans were evacuated from Libya following days of violence. Militias loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have been firing on protesters demanding the Libyan leader's ouster.
The White House spokesman added that Washington was using U.S. intelligence assets to monitor for evidence of "violence" or "atrocities" by the government of Gaddafi against the people of Libya.
"The United States is committed to utilizing the full extent of its capabilities to monitor the Gaddafi regime's behavior to ensure that evidence is gathered of further violence or atrocities committed against the Libyan people," Carney said
He added that Washington had put financial institutions on notice to watch for sudden movement of funds from Libya.
The move came hours before the United Nations Security Council was due to meet to discuss options to respond to Libya's repression against its people, and following complaints Washington was acting too slowly.
Carney said that Libyan leader Gaddafi has zero credibility left. "Colonel Gaddafi has lost the confidence of his people," Carney added.
Carney said President Barack Obama will meet with the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Washington Monday to discuss the situation in Libya.
The United States has withdrawn embassy personnel from the Libyan capital and suspended all embassy operations for security reasons, the White House spokesman said.
"It has been shuttered," said Carney.
The State Department announced the closure, saying Washington has "temporarily" with drawn US diplomatic personnel "given current security conditions in Libya, coupled with our inability to guarantee fully the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel in the country."