President Obama says the regime of Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi is at an end.
Giving an audio statement on Monday during his vacation at a beach house on Martha's Vineyard, the president said that while fierce fighting continues in parts of the capital of Tripoli, "it is clear Qaddafi's rule is over." The Libyan leader can end any more bloodshed by explicitly stepping down, Obama said.
Libyan rebels began their advance on the capital Tripoli in earnest over the weekend. The president had been getting updates from his national-security team and issued a statement late on Sunday calling for Qaddafi to recognize that his rule was now over.
Obama recalled how six months ago the U.S. and its European allies formed an "unprecedented coalition" to interdict pro-Qaddafi Libyan forces attacking rebels with a relentless bombing campaign from the air. Obama said this was achieved without putting a single American soldier on the ground.
He also recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya, but called on the council to respect the human rights of all Libyans. "True justice cannot come from reprisals ... but from reconciliation," Obama said.