Obama, Cameron warn NATO will up pressure on Libya

25th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron warned Wednesday that NATO will increase the pressure on Moamer Kadhafi and and issued demands for the Libyan leader to stand down.

"We should be turning up the heat in Libya. I think the pressure should be on that regime," Cameron said, in an open-air press conference after talks in London with the president.

Obama predicted coalition forces would eventually force Kadhafi from power, but he admitted the NATO air operation had "inherent limitations".

"Once you rule out ground forces, then there are going to be some inherent limitations to our air strike operations," Obama said.

He hit out at a "false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret, super-effective air assets that are in a warehouse somewhere that could just be pulled out and that would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya. That's not the case."

He added: "It means that the opposition on the ground in Libya is going to have to carry out its responsibilities and we are going to have to do effective coordination."

He was clear that NATO forces would not pull back from the conflict, saying: "Kadhafi and his regime need to understand there will not be a let-up in the pressure that we are applying."

Both leaders also urged patience and persistence in the operation, which is being conducted from the air.

Obama praised the "enormous sacrifices" being made by coalition forces and said the Libyan regime was under pressure but acknowledged that "ultimately, this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we are able to wear down the regime forces."

Cameron echoed Obama's view, saying "patience and persistence" were necessary in Libya.

"I so agree that the two key things here are patience and persistence. That is what the alliance is demonstrating and needs to go on demonstrating," he said.

Obama's admission came as NATO jets blasted Libya's capital, with the alliance saying it was shifting into high gear in a bid to deliver a decisive blow to Kadhafi's government.

Libya is expected to be one of the main themes of a G8 summit in the French resort of Deauville on Thursday and Friday, which Obama and Cameron will attend.

© 2011 AFP

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