Obama hints at long battle in Libya; supports new democracies

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The West is bracing for long military operations in Libya to help end conflict there, U.S. President Barack Obama told the British parliament on Wednesday.

We will not relent until the people of Libya are protected and the shadow of tyranny is lifted,” Obama said, referring to efforts to bring an end to Muammar Gadhafi’s rule in the country.

The president, who is on a four-nation European tour, also spoke about Western policy towards helping the other Arab world countries grow, where recent uprisings for democracy have seen huge transitions.

“The United States and United Kingdom stand squarely on the side of those who long to be free. That means investing in the future of those nations that transition to democracy, starting with Tunisia and Egypt – by deepening ties of trade and commerce; by helping them demonstrate that freedom brings prosperity. And that means standing up for universal rights – by sanctioning those who pursue repression, strengthening civil society, supporting the rights of minorities,” Obama said.

Stressing upon the role of joint leadership of U.S. and UK in shaping many emerging democracies in the world such as China, India and Brazil, Obama said, “At a time when threats and challenges require nations to work in concert with one another, we remain the greatest catalysts for global action.”

The president acknowledged that U.S. and U.K. have partnered always in fighting terror and freedom or democracy movements in countries struggling for human rights.

“After years of conflict, the United States has removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, the United Kingdom has removed its forces, and our combat mission there has ended,” he said.

Obama raised the issue of terrorism and spread of nuclear weapons as one of the major threats today and that it should be dismantled for a peaceful world where everybody will be free. He praised joint efforts with allies in knocking down some terrorist networks in the recent past.

“Nearly 10 years after 9/11, we have disrupted terrorist networks and dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader – Osama bin Laden,” Obama said.

“In Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum and will soon begin a transition to Afghan lead,” he continued, adding that a new concept for NATO will provide U.S. and its allies needed capabilities to meet such threats but at the same time it will also ensure that all nations have both rights and responsibilities.

“During this transition in Afghanistan, we will pursue a lasting peace with those who break free of al Qaeda and respect the Afghan constitution and lay down arms. And we will ensure that Afghanistan is never a safe haven for terror, but is instead a country that is strong, sovereign, and able to stand on its own two feet,” the president asserted.

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