Obama: Gaddafi is on wrong side of history
Obama said bottom line is that he has not taken any options off the table at this point.
Washington: Libyan ruler Muammar Al Gaddafi has more firepower than the opposition, but he is on the "wrong side of the history" and should leave immediately, US President Barack Obama said on Saturday.
"I don't think anybody disputes that Gaddafi has more firepower than the opposition," Obama said at a White House news conference.
"I believe that Gaddafi is on the wrong side of history. I believe that the Libyan people are anxious for freedom and the removal of somebody who has suppressed them for decades now. We are going to be in contact with the opposition, as well as in consultation with the international community, to try to achieve the goal of Mr Gaddafi being removed from power," Obama said.
Obama said he continues to believe that not only the US but the international community has an obligation to do what it can to prevent a repeat of something like what occurred in the Balkans in the '90s; what occurred in Rwanda.
"It's going to require some judgment calls, and those are difficult ones. But we have sent a clear warning to the Gaddafi government that they will be held accountable, particularly when it comes to assaulting civilians," he said.
"And some of the rhetoric that you've seen, for example, the idea that when Gaddafi said that they'd be going door to door hunting for people who are participating in protests, you know, that implied a, sort of, lack of restraint and ruthlessness that I think raises our antenna. But, as I said before, what I've got to do is make that we're monitoring the situation and matching our actions with what we think will be helpful on the ground, and also sustainable," said adding that any action needs to be developed in consultations with the international community.
Obama said the bottom line is that he has not taken any options off the table at this point.
"I think it is important to understand that we have moved about as swiftly as an international coalition has ever moved to impose sanctions on Gaddafi. I am absolutely clear that it is in the interests of the United States, and more importantly in the interests of the Libyan people, for Mr Gaddafi to leave. And I have not foreclosed these options," he said.
Gaddafi he said, has a stash of weapons.
"He not only has some troops that remain loyal to him, but there have been reports that he's also been hiring mercenaries. Even with the financial freeze that we've imposed, he still has some assets. The rebel groups are just now getting organized," he said.
The US and the international community is going to have to continue to apply pressure.
"That's why I say we have not taken any options off the table at this point," he added.