Leaders Describe Path to Peace in Libya

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2011 — 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 betrayal.” 

Gad­hafi remain­ing in pow­er also would “con­demn Libya to being not only a pari­ah state, but a failed state too,” they wrote. 

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 open society.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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