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Kadafi letter asks Obama to end 'unjust war'

The Libyan leader also says he hopes Obama will be reelected.

April 06, 2011|By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington — Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi sent an unusual personal letter to President Obama, complaining about the West's "unjust war" against his embattled regime but also endorsing Obama for a second term in the White House.

In a three-page letter Wednesday addressed to "Our son, Excellency, President Obama," Kadafi praised the president as a man "who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action."

The Libyan strongman said his country had suffered economic embargos and sanctions in the past, as well as airstrikes against his regime during Ronald Reagan's presidency. Now, Kadafi said, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is "waging an unjust war against a small people of a developing country."

Despite the conflict, Kadafi assured Obama in somewhat garbled English, "You will always remain our son whatever happened. We still pray that you continue to be president of the U.S.A. We Endeavour and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne."

He signed the letter with his preferred title: Leader of the Revolution.

White House officials didn't release the text of the letter, saying they don't want to help the Libyan with his "messaging." But they didn't challenge the text provided by the Associated Press wire service.

Asked about the letter, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said only that Kadafi "knows what he must do": begin a ceasefire, withdraw his forces and leave Libya.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reminded reporters that the letter was "not the first" from Kadafi. On March 19, just before U.S. and British ships launched the first cruise missiles against Libyan forces, Kadafi assured Obama that "even if Libya and the United States enter into war, God forbid, you will always remain my son."

Also Wednesday, Libya said a British airstrike had hit its major Sarir oil field and damaged a pipeline connecting the deposit to the Mediterranean port of Hariga.

"British warplanes have … carried out an airstrike against the Sarir oil field, which killed three oil field guards, and other employees at the field were also injured," Reuters news service quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim as saying.

There was no immediate official comment from Britain's Defense Ministry.

paul.richter@latimes.com

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