VINEYARD HAVEN, Massachusetts (AP) — Following a day of dramatic developments in Libya, President Barack Obama said Sunday night that the situation there had reached a "tipping point" and that control of the capital was "slipping from the grasp of a tyrant." He called on Moammar Gadhafi to accept reality and relinquish power.
"The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end," Obama said in a statement issued during his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. "Gadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all."
Obama issued the statement after conducting a conference call with members of his national security team, who had kept him updated throughout the day.
The president had told reporters earlier that he would not make a statement "until we have full confirmation of what has happened."
Libyan rebels who raced into Tripoli on Sunday met little resistance as Gadhafi’s defenders melted away and his 42-year rule rapidly crumbled. Euphoric fighters celebrated with residents in Green Square, the symbolic heart of the fading regime.
Gadhafi’s whereabouts were unknown, though state TV broadcast his bitter pleas for Libyans to defend his regime.