Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, made the following statement today in response to the violence that took place at the Egyptian and Libyan Embassies, resulting in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other American embassy personnel.
"The deaths of Ambassador Stevens and his team are heartbreaking. It's easy for a lot of people to forget that our diplomats are on the frontlines of the world's most dangerous places and they're there trying to make the world safer at great risk to themselves and their families. Chris Stevens was all that and more. He was a foreign service professional down to his toes, a guy who had served on the Foreign Relations Committee and embraced tough odds and tough assignments overseas. He had the guts and grit to serve as our envoy during the rebellion, and his presence there reminded Libyans that America stood with them for freedom in the face of violence. He was continuing that noble work as Ambassador with enormous skill. He was an important part of the work we are doing in Libya, and we will not let this deplorable violence turn back the progress he helped make possible.
"The violence in Cairo and Benghazi is unacceptable and unjustifiable. The stupidity of one filmmaker, no matter how offensive, is not now, and never, a rationale for violence. A despicable act like this hurts us all --Americans and peaceful people who aspire to build their own democracy.
"This is one of those moments when Americans must unite as Americans. It is exactly the wrong time to throw political punches. It is a time to restore calm and proceed wisely."