Obama urged to recognise Libyan rebels

In the resolution, they also urged Obama to support a proposed no-fly zone over Libya to protect the rebels.

"The President should recognise Libya's Transitional National Council, which is based in Benghazi but representative of communities across the country, as the sole legitimate governing authority in Libya – just as the government of France has done," said Senator John McCain, who co-authored the resolution with Senator Joseph Lieberman.

"Gaddafi has forfeited the right to power through his vicious actions; we must recognize the opposition government," he argued, demanding that Obama should take immediate steps to implement a no-fly zone in Libya with international support.

"Not only has the Libyan opposition government itself called for this. The Gulf Cooperation Council has called a no-fly zone. The head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference has called for a no-fly zone.

And on Saturday, the Arab League called for a no-fly zone. The French and British governments have voiced their support and have drafted a UN Security Council resolution to implement a no-fly zone," he noted.

"It is long past time for the President to answer these calls for international leadership. A no-fly zone was never going to be the decisive action that tipped the balance against Gaddafi, even when Senator Lieberman and I called for it nearly three weeks ago," McCain said.

"It remains the case that a no-fly zone would take one of Gaddafi's most lethal tools off the table, and thereby boost the confidence of Libya's opposition. It is Libyans themselves who want to do the fighting against Gaddafi, but they want it to be a fair fight. So should we," he said.

McCain said Obama should develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to accomplish the stated US objective of Gaddafi leaving power.

"Beyond a no-fly zone, and beyond those actions like sanctions and humanitarian assistance that we are already taking, there are many actions that we could consider – from sharing intelligence on Gaddafi's forces with the opposition, to providing them with support for command and control, to technical assistance and even forms of security assistance if they request it, and if we can provide it in a responsible way," he argued.

McCain asserted that if Gaddafi is allowed to prevail in Libya and crush his opponents, it will send a signal throughout the region that force is the way to respond to peaceful demands for a better life and it will cause all of our expressions of support for the universal rights of all people to ring far hollower.

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