By DANNY BERNSTEIN, AP Washington (AP) President Barack Obama said Tuesday he’ll give credit to the United States for helping lead the overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and ending the nation’s bloody civil war, but said he was concerned that the United Nations and its allies would seek to “melt down” the U.S. role in the effort.
“I think we’ll get credit for this, because we played a leading role in putting an end to Gadhaf’s rule, but we’ll be concerned about whether that same role would be given to other countries,” Obama said at a news conference in New York.
The U.N.-backed coalition led by France and Britain is seeking to oust Gadhaffas longtime allies in the country, which was split into two factions after his ouster in 2011.
The coalition has been in talks with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar for months, and the goal is to form a new government that will form an interim government in a bid to restore stability.
“What we can say, with respect to the U, is we will always take our fair share of responsibility for the Libyan people,” Obama told reporters in New Delhi, adding that he hopes the U’s help will “militarily” bring the country back to normalcy.
But Obama acknowledged that the U could have done more.
“There were certain actions that we could have taken differently, and we made those choices, and I know the coalition leaders and I respect their judgment.
But the fact is, Libya has been a terrible place for so long, and it’s time that we come together and put an end, in the best way we know how,” he said.
The administration has repeatedly blamed the Gadhafe regime for killing hundreds of U.s. service members during the U-2 spy plane mission, as well as the deaths of scores of Americans during a raid that led to the capture of the Ute military commander.
The government has also said it killed hundreds of Libyans it thought were terrorists.
Obama said he hopes that the Arab League will continue to play a role in resolving the conflict and is confident that Libya will eventually return to stability.
The Arab League was initially supposed to form the interim government, but it has been unable to agree on a final figure, despite several previous attempts.
Obama also expressed confidence that Gadhacese officials will come to the table and form a transitional government.
“The Arab Council and the United states, as we’ve said many times, have to take the lead,” Obama quipped.