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Obama in London: Obama, Cameron pledge to keep pressure on Kadafi regime

May 25, 2011|By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
(Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

Reporting from London — President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron presented a solid front on the fight in Libya on Wednesday, lauding each other's contributions to the effort thus far and vowing to keep the pressure on the Moammar Kadafi regime.

But while Cameron declared that Kadafi must go, Obama emphasized his belief that opposition forces should be the ones to remove him -- and that the United States has limited resources to help.

During a joint appearance after a morning meeting here, Cameron called for patience in the ongoing campaign launched this spring.

Obama took issue with the idea that the United States is holding back from the air-support effort, a suggestion that has arisen this week as he visits Europe.

The United States doesn't have a "secret, super-effective" aircraft sitting unused in a warehouse somewhere, he said.

"Once you rule out ground forces," Obama said, then "there are going to be some inherent limitations to our airstrike operation."

The president also addressed his vision for Mideast peace, nearly a week after his major speech on the issue and a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint meeting of Congress.

Obama said he is confident a solution can be reached between Israelis and Palestinians, but that it "is going to require wrenching compromise by both sides."

Obama also said Israel is "properly concerned" about the pact between Fatah and Hamas.

"As much as it’s important for the United States, as Israel’s closest friend and partner, to remind them of the urgency of achieving peace, I don’t want the Palestinians to forget that they have obligations as well," Obama said.

Later Wednesday, Obama will address the British Parliament, delivering the key speech of his week abroad. He'll also host a dinner for Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday night at the residence of the U.S. ambassador.

Michael A. Memoli contributed from Washington.

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