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Obama: Kadafi "no longer controls Libya"

August 21, 2011|By Maeve Reston
  • People celebrate the capture in Tripoli of Moammar Kadafi's son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, at the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya, early Monday.
People celebrate the capture in Tripoli of Moammar Kadafi's son and… (Alexandre Meneghini / Associated…)

Reporting from Vineyard Haven, Mass. — With rebels advancing in the Libyan capital of Tripoli and the whereabouts of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi unknown, President Obama said Sunday night that the Kadafi regime was collapsing and called on the Libyan leader to “relinquish power once and for all.”

"The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Kadafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end,” Obama said in a statement Sunday night after spending the evening with his family and friends. “Kadafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya.”

White House officials said the president was briefed throughout the day Sunday by counterterrorism advisor John Brennan.  From White House advisor Valerie Jarrett's house in Oak Bluffs, Obama joined his national security team – including national security advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen – on a conference call to discuss the situation shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday. Obama will monitor the events in Libya overnight and will be briefed on the latest news Monday morning.

In his statement, Obama noted that the U.S. has recognized the Transitional National Council “as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.”

"At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya,” Obama said.

"The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people,” the president continued, adding that the U.S. would coordinate closely with the TNC. “We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. We will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy. “

Photos: Battle for Libya

Rebels in Libya tear down Kadafi posters, burn flags

Libyan rebels enter Tripoli, meet only sporadic resistance

maeve.reston@latimes.com

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