Naharnet

Obama Threatens Military Action if Gadhafi Defies U.N. Resolution

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday threatened defiant Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi with military action unless he met specific, "non-negotiable" demands for a ceasefire, a halt to attacks on civilians and a retreat from rebel strongholds.

Obama said the world could not stand by because, if left unchecked, Gadhafi would commit atrocities in which thousands could die, adding that the Libyan strongman had been given "ample warning" to change his behavior.

But Obama left unclear the exact role that Washington would play in military action against Libya, beyond enabling its European and Arab partners to "effectively" mount a no-fly zone to protect civilians.

He made clear, however, that there would be no U.S. ground troops deployed to Libya, and repeatedly stressed that Washington would not act alone.

"The United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone.

"It means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together."

"Our goal is focused, our cause is just, and our coalition is strong."

Obama said that if Gadhafi failed to honor the U.N. Security Council resolution passed Thursday, demanding a complete ceasefire among other requirements, he would face "consequences."

"These terms are not subject to negotiation. If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences. The resolution will be enforced through military action."

"Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Gadhafi would commit atrocities against his people," Obama said. "Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue."

Obama also laid down new and specific conditions for Gadhafi, saying he must pull immediately halt his advance on the key rebel town of Benghazi and pull back from three other rebel contested cities, or face military action.

"That means all attacks against civilians must stop," Obama said.

"Gadhafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiyah and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas," Obama said.

Additionally, Obama said Gadhafi must allow humanitarian aid to reach the country's people.

He said that he would also send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back to Europe to attend a major summit in Paris on Libya on Saturday, which includes the leaders of France, Britain and Germany as well as Arab allies.

Source: Agence France Presse


Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/4278