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US hopes military action will result in Gaddafi quitting

April 02, 2011 16:29 IST

Insisting that Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to rule, the United States has hoped that the military action against him by the international coalition would result in the 'brutal' Libyan leader ending his regime.

"We believe that the Libyan people no longer want Gaddafi to remain in power as the leader of Libya," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his daily news conference.

Not willing to speculate about the outcome of a potential ceasefire or negotiations, he said it remains US President Barack Obama's position that Gaddafi should not lead Libya and that the Libyan people should decide their future.

"We support a democratic transition, free and fair elections, and a government that arises out of that process that is responsive to the aspirations of the Libyan people. That remains our position," he said.

"Our goal of having Gaddafi step down, take himself out of power or be removed from power, is a non-military goal. We support the aspirations of the Libyan people. The opposition to Gaddafi is driven by the fact that Gaddafi was such a brutal leader and did not respond or answer to the desires and aspirations of the Libyan people," Carney said.

Along with the military action, he said the US and its international coalition are working very diligently to continue to put pressure on the Gaddafi regime.

"There are a variety of ways to measure Gaddafi's relative strength in this situation, or weakness. I think one measure is to look at what's happening to the circle around him," Carney said.

"One of his most trusted aides (Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa) defected, flew to United Kingdom with no immunity, and has abandoned what we think is a sinking ship. We think that's an important development," he said.

Carney said Obama believes that he retains an absolute right, as the commander-in-chief, to use military force unilaterally when the country is threatened, when American citizens are threatened, when its core interests are threatened, when its allies are threatened.

"In other circumstances, when our general interests are affected, it is better to pursue the avenue that we pursued, which is to build a coalition to share the burden, to share the cost, to share the risk," he said.

Working with our coalition partners here makes the possibility of a good outcome in Libya greater because it makes clear that the unrest in Libya, the revolution, has come from the ground up, is driven by the desires and aspirations of the Libyan people, as it has been by the people of different countries, and it is not an America operation, it is not American-or Western-inspired," he said.

"We think that is very, very important when the President takes the long view about what all these development means -- all these developments mean in the Middle East and what posture we should take to best ensure that our national security interests are protected and that the outcome in the region is as positive as possible for the people of the region and for the people of the United States," he said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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