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Public Statements

Remarks at the International Conference on Libya

By:
Date:
Location: London, United Kingdom

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and thanks to you and your government for the critical leadership effort you have demonstrated in our common effort. Thanks too to France, which has been at the forefront of this mission, including by hosting many of us last week in Paris, and really thanks to everyone around this table. We have prevented a potential massacre, established a no-fly zone, stopped an advancing army, added more partners to this coalition, and transferred command of the military effort to NATO. That's not bad for a week of work at a time of great, intense international concern.

The United States has been proud to stand with our NATO, Arab, and European partners. We've been responding to the appeals of the Libyan people and to the Arab League's call for urgent action. And we have joined with countries around the world, including all three countries representing Africa on the United Nations Security Council, to pass two strong resolutions. So this has been truly an international effort and a reflection of our shared concern for the safety of civilians and our support for the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people.

Well, we meet now in London at a turning point. NATO has taken command of enforcing the arms embargo and the no-fly zone. On Sunday, it agreed to take on the additional responsibility of protecting civilians. Last night, President Obama expressed his full confidence that this coalition will keep the pressure on Qadhafi's remaining forces. I second that confidence. This coalition military action will continue until Qadhafi fully complies with the terms of 1973, ceases his attacks on civilians, pulls his troops back from places they have forcibly entered, and allows key services and humanitarian assistance to reach all Libyans.

But beyond our military efforts, all of us are called to continue to work together along three tracks: First, delivering desperately needed humanitarian assistance; second, pressuring and isolating the Qadhafi regime through robust sanctions and other measures; third, supporting efforts by Libyans to achieve their aspirations through political change. On the humanitarian front, under the leadership of the United Nations, we will work with NATO, the EU, other international organizations and regional partners to deliver assistance.

The coalition military campaign has made it possible for more help to get through. For example, a convoy organized by the World Food Program was able to reach Benghazi this weekend with 18 tons of supplies, including food and blankets. But a great deal more aid is needed and we have to work quickly and cooperatively to assess and respond. Beyond the humanitarian crisis, we know long-term progress in Libya will not be accomplished through military means.

All of us have to continue the pressure on and deepen the isolation of the Qadhafi regime. This includes a unified front of political and diplomatic pressure that makes clear to Qadhafi he must go, that sends a strong message of accountability, and that sharpens the choice for those around him. It also includes financial pressure through the vigorous enforcement of sanctions authorized under Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

As President Obama said last night, while our military mission is focused on saving lives, we must continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to the Libyan people. Now, we cannot and must not attempt to impose our will on the people of Libya, but we can and must stand with them as they determine their own destiny. And we have to speak with one voice in support of a transition that leads to that time. We agree with the Arab League that Qadhafi has lost the legitimacy to lead. We agree with the African Union on the need for a democratic transition process. And we support UN Special Envoy Khatib's planned travel to Libya following this conference to assess conditions and report to the international community.

We believe that Libya's transition should come through a broadly inclusive process that reflects the will and protects the rights of the Libyan people. The Transitional National Council and a broad cross-section of Libya's civil society and other stakeholders have critical contributions to make. Earlier today, I had the opportunity to meet with senior representatives of the council and to talk about the path forward. The UN, the African Union, the Arab League, the OIC, and the EU all have important roles to play. And through this, the United States will join the international community in our commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national unity of Libya.

This is a time of great change for Libya, for its neighbors across the region and around the world. Under different governments, under different circumstances, people are expressing the same basic aspirations -- a voice in their government, an end to corruption, freedom from violence and fear, the chance to live in dignity, and to make the most of their God-given talents. Now, we know these goals are not easily achieved, but they are, without question, worth working for together. And I'm very proud that this coalition has come to this place at this time to try to pursue those goals. Thank you very much.


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