NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the objective of a U.S. and allied campaign is to apply steady pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi so that he will “ultimately step down” from power.
In an NBC News interview, Obama said military pressure and international sanctions have “greatly weakened” Gaddafi. “He does not have control over most of Libya at this point,” Obama said.
Obama said the United States has not ruled out providing military hardware to Libyan rebels who are pressuring Gaddafi — “I’m not ruling it in, I’m not ruling it out.”
And he said he has already agreed to provide nonlethal aid such as communications equipment, medical supplies and potentially transportation aid to the Libyan opposition.
“We are going to be looking at all options to provide support to the Libyan people so that we can transition toward a more peaceful and more stable Libya,” Obama said.
Obama said his Libyan policy should not necessarily be viewed as an “Obama Doctrine,” saying each country in the region is different.
While force was used in Libya, he said, this “does not mean that somehow we are going to go around trying to use military force to impose or apply certain forms of government.”
Reporting by Steve Holland and Alister Bull; Editing by Will Dunham