London, May 25: Predicting success in Libya, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday Moammar Gadhafi would ultimately be forced to step down if NATO keeps up its military campaign with the U.S. playing a key role.
“I believe that we have built enough momentum that as long as we sustain the course we're on, he will step down,” the visiting president said at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“Ultimately this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we're able to wear down the regime forces,” Obama said. He ruled out a deadline for ending the U.S. role in Libya, saying the mission would end in a timely fashion Cameron rallied behind Obama's approach, saying what was needed in Libya was “patience and persistence.”
The two leaders affirmed their joint resolve despite complaints among some NATO countries about the reduced U.S. role since NATO took the lead after the initial days of the two-month-old campaign against Gaddafi.
But the president also said, “David and I both agree that you can't put boots on the ground in Libya.” He said “enormous sacrifices” made by the NATO allies have made a difference, but that ultimately “this is going to be a slow, steady process” that eventually will sap Gadhafi's resolve.
“We've been extraordinarily successful in avoiding civilian casualties,” Obama added. “That means that sometimes we may have to be more patient than people would like.”
Said Cameron: “I would agree that the two key things here are patience and persistence.” He said “we're extremely strong together in wanting to see the same outcomes.”
Obama also said the U.S. is increasing pressure on Syria's President Bashar Assad and his regime, which has been attacking protesters. AP