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LIBYA: Obama says momentum against Kadafi at 'tipping point'

August 21, 2011 |  8:23 pm

Obama
With rebels pressing into the heart of Tripoli, President Obama issued a statement late Sunday saying that the momentum against Moammar Kadafi’s regime has reached a "tipping point" and calling on the Libyan leader to step down.

"The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator," Obama said.

"The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all."

Photos: Battle for Tripoli, ongoing conflict in Libya

At the same time, Obama urged rebel forces to respect the rights of the people of Libya, avoid civilian casualties, protect the institutions of state and pursue a just and inclusive transition to democracy.

"A season of conflict must lead to one of peace," Obama said.

White House aides said the president is receiving regular briefings on Libya while on a family vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Read the full statement after the jump.

August 21, 2011

Statement of President Barack Obama
 
Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.
 
The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all. Meanwhile, the United States 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. A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.
 
The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people. Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC. We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. And 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.

RELATED:

Timeline: Rebellion in Libya

Rebels rip down Kadafi posters, burn flag

Libyan rebels enter Tripoli, meet sporadic resistance

-- Alexandra Zavis

Photo: President Obama waves to people gathered outside Nancy's Restaurant in Oak Bluffs at Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Sunday, during a family vacation. Credit: Carolyn Kaster /Associated Press 

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