Obama urges Gaddafi loyalists lay down arms

President Barack Obama called on Monday for Muammar Gaddafi to end the bloodshed in Libya as pockets of his loyalist forces continued to fight.

“Although it is clear Gaddafi’s rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms,” Obama said.

While rebels hunted for Gaddafi in Tripoli, some forces loyal to the autocratic leader were fighting on fiercely.

“This is not over yet,” Obama warned in a statement from the farm where his family is vacationing on an island off the coast from Boston.

Vowing the United States would be a friend and partner to help a democratic Libya emerge in the post-Gaddafi era, Obama also cautioned the Libyan opposition against acts of revenge for the four decades of Gaddafi’s autocratic rule.

“True justice will not come from reprisals and violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny,” he said.

Although he did not go into details about what help the United States would be prepared to offer Libya, Obama said a top priority would be humanitarian aid to the wounded.

He did spell out that U.S. engagement would continue to be part of a multinational effort and praised the role NATO had played in the campaign to oust Gaddafi.

“NATO has once again proven it is the most capable alliance in the world and its strength comes from both its firepower and the strength of out democratic ideals,” Obama said.

CHILMARK, Massachusetts (Reuters) – (Reporting by Laura MacInnis and Alister Bull; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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