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British, French, US leaders rule out future with Gaddafi

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-15

British PM David Cameron, US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say it is "unthinkable" that Muammar Gaddafi would play a role in a future Libyan government in a joint contribution to international dailies published Thursday.

AFP - A Libyan future including Moamer Kadhafi is "unthinkable" and would represent an "unconscionable betrayal" by the rest of the world, the leaders of Britain, France and the United States said Thursday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama vowed they would "not rest until the UN...resolutions have been implemented", in a joint article published in several international newspapers.

"It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government," the article, which appeared in the London Times, The Washington Post and French daily Le Figaro, continued.

"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," the leaders argued.

The publication of the article underlined US commitment to the UN-mandated operation against Kadhafi's forces, easing earlier tensions between members of the Western alliance.

The three leaders promised that NATO and its coalition partners would "maintain their operations so that civilians remain protected" as long as Kadhafi was in power.

"Britain, France and the United States will not rest until the UN Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future," they promised.

A failure to unseat Kadhafi "would condemn Libya to being not only a pariah state, but a failed state too", the three men warned.

The letter was originally drafted by Cameron and Sarkozy following their meeting in Paris on Wednesday, but Obama asked to have his name added to the article after he was sent a courtesy copy.

France revealed earlier Thursday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had rebuffed appeals for more assistance with the enforcement of the UN resolution authorising all necessary means to protect Libyan civilians.

Washington pulled back around 50 combat planes from Libyan operations last week after handing over control of the mission to NATO, although since then they took part in some missions to take out Kadhafi's air defence systems.

Clinton later told NATO allies: "For our part, the US is committed to our shared mission. We will strongly support the coalition until our work is completed."

Backing up Clinton's promise, Obama's joint article stated it was the coalition's "duty and our mandate...to protect civilians".

The article stressed the mandate was "not to remove Kadhafi by force" but added it was "impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Kadhafi in power".

"The people of Libya are suffering terrible horrors at Kadhafi's hands each and every day," the article said. "The city of Misrata is enduring a medieval siege as Kadhafi tries to strangle its population into submission."

Britain and France on Wednesday agreed to step up military pressure on Kadhafi's regime after world powers meeting in Doha promised Libya's rebels cash and the means to defend themselves.

Looking to a post-Kadhafi future, the leaders said they were "convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya".

After Kadhafi leaves, the three men predicted "a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process...led by a new generation of leaders.

"For that transition to succeed, Kadhafi must go, and go for good," they concluded.

Meanwhile, Kadhafi toured the streets of Tripoli on Thursday as NATO warplanes carried out a series of air raids that rocked the Libyan capital.

In an open-top 4x4 wearing dark glasses and a hunting hat, Kadhafi hailed bystanders as he put on a show of defiance.

Date created : 2011-04-15

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