Authors: Joshua Cohan
(MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass.) -- President Obama called on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to resign and praised Libyan rebels fighting to oust Gadhafi and gain control of Tripoli.
"Although it's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya," Obama said from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he's vacationing.
Obama called the situation in Tripoli "very fluid."
"I want to emphasize that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there is still fierce fighting in some areas. We have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting," he said.
Rebels attempting to take over Gadhafi's presidential compound, Bab al-Aziziya, have been met by tanks. Firefights are also raging in Green Square, the symbolic heart of Gadhafi's regime, which rebels Sunday renamed Martyrs' Square, and outside the Rixos Hotel, which houses several journalists.
State Department officials estimate that the rebels are in control of 90 percent of Tripoli.
"Over the last several days, the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point as the opposition increased its coordination from east to west, took town after town and the people of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom. For over four decades, the Libyan people have lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights," Obama said.
Obama pledged that the United States would act as a "friend and partner" to the Transitional National Council, the administration set up by the rebel forces, as they form a new government.
Obama echoed the pleas of top diplomats urging Libyans not to seek violent retribution.
"True justice will not come from reprisals, violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny."
As Obama spoke, the whereabouts of Gadhafi are still unknown. Pentagon officials believe Gadhafi is still in Libya.
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