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Leaders describe path to peace in Libya
NATO nations will continue
operations against the regime in Libya until Moammar Gadhafi
leaves power, the leaders of the United States, Great Britain
and France wrote in an article published in their countries today.
President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron and President
Nicolas Sarkozy described why the United Nations and an international
coalition intervened and what they believe needs to happen for
Libya to find peace.
The three men said the military mission still has not changed:
to enforce a no-fly zone over the country, enforce an arms embargo
on Gadhafi’s regime and protect the people of Libya from
the depredations of Gadhafi’s forces.
The three said it is important to remember why the international
community is involved. The Libyan people, following the example
of the people of Tunisia and Egypt, rebelled against Gadhafi.
The Libyan dictator responded with force.
“The Arab League called for action. The Libyan opposition
called for help. And the people of Libya looked to the world
in their hour of need,” the three leaders wrote. “In
an historic resolution, the United Nations Security Council authorized
all necessary measures to protect the people of Libya from the
attacks upon them.”
The United States led an international coalition that “halted
the advance of Gadhafi’s forces and prevented the bloodbath
that he had promised to inflict upon the citizens of the besieged
city of Benghazi,” the leaders wrote. But the NATO action
didn’t totally stop Gadhafi’s forces, they added.
“The people of Libya are still suffering terrible horrors
at Gadhafi’s hands each and every day,” the leaders
wrote. “His rockets and shells rained down on defenseless
civilians in Ajdabiya. The city of Misrata is enduring a medieval
siege, as Gadhafi tries to strangle its population into submission.
The evidence of disappearances and abuses grows daily.”
The U.N. mandate does not call for the ouster of Gadhafi by
force, the men noted. “But it is impossible to imagine
a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power,” they said. “It
is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own
people can play a part in their future government. The brave
citizens of those towns that have held out against forces that
have been mercilessly targeting them would face a fearful vengeance
if the world accepted such an arrangement. It would be an unconscionable
Gadhafi remaining in power also would “condemn Libya to
being not only a pariah state, but a failed state too,” they
The Libyan dictator has promised to carry out terrorist attacks
against civilian ships and airliners. “And because he has
lost the consent of his people, any deal that leaves him in power
would lead to further chaos and lawlessness,” the leaders
wrote. “We know from bitter experience what that would
mean. Neither Europe, the region, or the world can afford a new
safe haven for extremists.”
A path exists to peace to a Libya without Gadhafi “that
preserves Libya’s integrity and sovereignty, and restores
her economy and the prosperity and security of her people,” the
men wrote, beginning with a genuine end to violence.
The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging,
including Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zintan, and regime forces must
return to their barracks, the leaders wrote. “However,
so long as Gadhafi is in power, NATO must maintain its operations
so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime
builds,” they said.
The path to peace means a genuine transition from dictatorship
to an inclusive constitutional process, the leaders wrote.
“In order for that transition to succeed, Gadhafi must
go, and go for good,” they said. “At that point,
the United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people
as they rebuild where Gadhafi has destroyed -- to repair homes
and hospitals, to restore basic utilities, and to assist Libyans
as they develop the institutions to underpin a prosperous and
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