US President Barack Obama has defended the first military intervention of his leadership insisting America’s participation in the coalition has saved countless lives but insisted US involvement would be limited.
Barack Obama has defended US military intervention in Libya in an address to the American people, but ruled out targeting Gaddafi with force.
The President maintained that the end of the Libyan leader’s rule was inevitable and called for loyalists to Muammar Gaddafi to desert him, as 40 delegations from the coalition gather in London today to discuss the future of Libya.
‘We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gaddafi leaves power,’ Obama stated. ‘It may not happen overnight, but it should be clear to those around Gaddafi, and to every Libyan, that history is not on his side.’
Anti-Gaddafi forces have made rapid progress westwards from their stronghold in Benghazi over the past few days, greatly aided by international air strikes, while rebel radio in eastern Libya has been urging more people in the west of the country to join the anti-Gaddafi uprising.
Ahead of today’s conference on Libya in London, attended by officials from the UN, Nato, the African Union and Arab League, William Hague said he wanted Col Gaddafi to leave power and face trial at the International Criminal Court.
At the National Defense University in Washington DC, Mr Obama explained that the US had stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance but the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground would now move to the American’s allies.
‘Because of the transition to a broader, Nato-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation to our military and to American tax-payers will be reduced significantly,’ he said. ‘We must always measure our interests against our action but that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right.’
The White House announced via video conference yesterday that France, Germany, the UK and America all agreed that Col Gaddafi had lost any legitimacy to rule and that the Libyan people should have the political space to determine their own future.