Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told members of the Arab Forum in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday the United States was shocked and saddened by the "senseless and brutal" attacks Tuesday in Libya and Egypt, condemning "in the strongest possible terms the deplorable and savage acts of violence" that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Mr. Holder also confirmed that the FBI has opened an investigation into the attacks and the deaths of the U.S. citizens.
"Among these extraordinary Americans was our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens — who dedicated his career to strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and the Libyan people. Through conflict and revolution — in times of uncertainty and transition — he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with all who spoke out and fought for the democratic ideals that have always defined our shared aspirations," he said.
"I can assure you — as the president has assured the world — that we are committed to working with the Libyan government to seek justice for the victims of this outrageous and unjustified attack, and to supporting the people of Libya — and millions of others throughout this region and around the world — as we promote religious tolerance and uphold the unshakable values of freedom, opportunity and justice for which these four brave individuals gave their lives," he said.
Mr. Holder and Michael Froman, assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, are leading a high-level delegation consisting of officials from the Justice Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the national security staff to Doha for the inaugural Arab Forum on Asset Recovery. The United States is co-organizing the forum with the government of the state of Qatar.
In a statement, the White House said that President Obama is committed to fighting corruption worldwide and supporting the democratic transitions that are taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. It said corruption has been a core public grievance in the region, and the United States has worked closely with the new governments and citizens of Arab countries in transition as they fight corruption and seek justice by recovering stolen assets.
Representatives of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen also are scheduled to speak to the forum. All have recently deposed their leaders in popular uprisings.
Mr. Holder commended members of the forum for what he called their contributions in advancing what's become a "robust and ongoing dialogue" about the role that each nation can play and the responsibilities they must fulfill in combatting corruption, recovering stolen assets and establishing a framework for cooperation and collaboration across the globe.
He said there was "ample proof" that progress against global corruption is possible "in the winds of change that have swept across the Middle East and fueled the Arab Spring."
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