U.S. asks Qadhafi to relinquish power immediately

August 24, 2011 12:15 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 12:33 am IST - Washington

As rebel forces reportedly took control of most parts of the Libyan capital Tripoli and Muammar Qadhafi vowed martyrdom or victory, the U.S. today asked him to relinquish power immediately.

“The battle for Tripoli continues and the ground situation is somewhat fluid, but we have seen some amazing images in the last little while. But there is no question that the Qadhafi regime has nearly collapsed,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

“There is also no question that the best thing he could do for his people would be to relinquish power immediately. We stand with the proud people of Libya at this historic time. Their transition has begun,” she said.

“The Transitional National Council, with whom we maintain daily, hourly contact, is preparing to lead the country through its democratic transition. And we support and echo their calls for national unity at this time, for calm, for no retribution, for no reprisals,” she said.

Ms. Nuland said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding the next steps that the U.N. can take in the planning that it is doing to assist the Transitional National Council and the Libyan people as they prepare for the transition.

“They talked about support in the areas of humanitarian relief, security assistance if it is requested, the support the UN can and will offer in the area of political and democratic transition support, constitution writing, and especially in the area of support for the rule of law,” she said.

“This transition will have to be Libyan led, it must be Libyan led, but both the US and the United Nations will support the Libyan process and will be guided by the principle that this is Libya’s to lead,” Ms. Nuland said.

The U.S., she said, is working urgently this week to be able to release between $ 1 billion and $ 1.5 billion in U.S.-held frozen Libyan assets.

“We are working in the U.N. Sanctions Committee to be able to do this. We want to give this money back to the TNC for its use, first and foremost to meet humanitarian needs and to help it establish a secure, stable government and to move on to the next step in its own roadmap. And we hope this process will be complete in the coming days,” she said.

“What the Libyan people are looking for, what the international community is looking for, is a reliable, affirmative statement not only to the Libyan people and the international community but to his own loyalists that he understands this is over, that he understands that the days of his leadership are over, so that everybody can move on to have the democratic, strong, united Libya that they deserve,” she said.

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