The Gaddhafi regime is coming to an end and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people, United States President Barack Obama said on Monday, as forces opposed to the embattled Libyan leader claimed to be in control of most of the capital Tripoli.
"The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," Obama said as he came out of his summer vacation to issue a statement on the extraordinary developments in Libya.
"In just six months, the 42-year reign of Muammar Gaddafi has unraveled," Obama said Monday afternoon soon after he held a call with the National Security Council officials and a telephonic conversation with British Prime Minister David Cameroon.
The President said the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point, as the opposition increased its coordination from east to west, took town after town, and the people of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom.
"For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now, the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator," Obama said.
However, he emphasised that this is not over yet. "As the regime collapses, there's still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting," the President said.
Obama said although it's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.
"As we move forward from this pivotal phase, the opposition should continue to take important steps to bring about a transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just," the president said.
Obama underlined that the leadership of the TNC has made clear the rights of all Libyans must be respected.
"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," Obama said, adding "In that effort, the US will be a friend and a partner".
"We will join with allies and partners to continue the work of safeguarding the people of Libya," he said.
He maintained that as the remaining regime elements menace parts of the country, "I've directed my team to be in close contact with NATO as well as the United Nations to determine other steps that we can take to deal with the humanitarian impact."
He underlined that the US was working to ensure that critical supplies reach those in need, particularly those who've been wounded.
Obama has directed the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, to request that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to use next month's General Assembly to support this important transition.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke today with her counterparts from leading nations of the coalition on all these matters.
Directly addressing the Libyan people, Obama saluted their courage and character have been unbreakable in the face of the tyrant.
He said an ocean divides us, but "we are joined in the basic human longing for freedom, for justice and for dignity." "Your revolution is your own, and your sacrifices have been extraordinary.
Now, the Libya that you deserve is within your reach. Going forward, we will stay in close coordination with the TNC to support that outcome," he said.
He said though there will be huge challenges ahead, the extraordinary events in Libya remind us that fear can give way to hope, and that the power of people striving for freedom can bring about a brighter day.