US lawmakers support Obama’s ultimatum to Gaddafi

PTI Washington | Updated on March 19, 2011 Published on March 19, 2011

Top US lawmakers have rallied behind the President Barack Obama after he issued an ultimatum to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi asking him to immediately halt violence against his own people.

“I support the President’s announcement today. Though I have been calling for a ‘no fly zone’ for weeks, we are now moving forward, and America is demonstrating leadership,” said the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr Mike Rogers.

Mr Rogers along with other top Congressional leadership were briefed by Mr Obama on the US policy on Libya.

Among those who attended the meetings were the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democratic Whip Steny Mr Hoyer, Senators Carl Levin, Dick Lugar, Saxby Chambliss, Mitch McConnell, John Kyl, John Kerry and Diane Feinstein.

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner; Majority Leader Eric Cantor; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Congressmen, Buck McKeon, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard L. Berman also attended the Situation Room meeting.

“It is in America’s strategic interest to support regional stability, and to prevent the use or diversion of Libya’s large chemical weapons stockpile while allowing those who aspire to be free a chance to have their legitimate grievances heard,” Mr Rogers said.

“I was glad to hear that the President’s plan puts the US military in a supporting role, and that no US ground troops will be deployed,” he said.

After the meeting, Mr Obama asked the Libyan leader to immediately stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi and pull them back from other cities and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas.

Mr Obama described these terms as non-negotiable, but said the US would not deploy ground troops in Libya and would not resort to use of force beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya.

“President Obama’s stern ultimatum to Gaddafi is the right message. There must be a full cessation of hostilities immediately,” said Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“The bottom line remains that Gaddafi has lost all legitimacy and determined international pressure will remain imperative to ensure that the will of the Libyan people prevails,” he added.

Published on March 19, 2011
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