War on Terrorism

Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama: U.S., Allies to Enforce U.N. Security Resolution on Libya

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011 – The United States will not deploy ground troops to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya, but the military will work with NATO and Arab League allies to stop Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi from killing his own people, President Barack Obama said here today.

Yesterday, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution that demands an end to the violence against Libya’s citizens.

The resolution “authorizes the use of force, with an explicit commitment to pursue all necessary measures to stop the killing, to include the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya,” Obama said at the White House.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 lays out clear conditions that Gadhafi must meet if he wants to avoid military consequences, the president said.

“The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately,” Obama said. “That means all attacks against civilians must stop.”

The Libyan ruler’s troops must stop advancing on Benghazi and pull back from Adjadbiya, Misrata and Zawiya, Obama said. And, Gadhafi must allow the movement of water, electricity and gas supplies into all areas of Libya.

“Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable,” Obama said. “If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action.”

The United States will be part of the coalition to enforce the U.N. resolution, the president said.

“American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone,” he said. “It means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together.”

The president has directed the Defense Department to coordinate planning with coalition members. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton soon will travel to Paris to consult with European allies and Arab partners about the enforcement of Resolution 1973, Obama said.

The United States, he said, will provide unique capabilities to assist the coalition in stopping the violence against Libyan civilians, including enabling European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone.

“I have no doubt that the men and women of our military are capable of carrying out this mission,” Obama said. “Once more, they have the thanks of a grateful nation, and the admiration of the world.”

The president also emphasized what American forces will not do.

“The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya, and we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will continue to help the Libyan people with humanitarian and economic assistance so that they can fulfill their aspirations peacefully.”

Obama said there’s no decision he faces more carefully than when considering to deploy American fighting forces. It is a particularly difficult decision, he added, with U.S. military troops still engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“But the United States of America will not stand idly by in the face of actions that undermine global peace and security,” Obama said. “So I’ve taken this decision with the confidence that action is necessary and that we will not be acting alone.

“Our goal is focused, our cause is just, and our coalition is strong,” he concluded.

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