THE United States and France are united in their resolve to finish the job in Libya, US President Barack Obama said after talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8 summit today.
Obama and the French leader said they have a convergence of views of a series of key issues during their talks, which lasted around 45 minutes, just before the wider summit considered the implications of the Arab Spring.
“We agreed that we have made progress on our Libya campaign,” Obama said.
But the US leader warned that the “UN mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Gaddafi remains in Libya directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people.
“We are joined in resolve to finish the job.”
The US provided the bulk of the firepower blitz which launched the NATO campaign in Libya, but has since taken on a support role with European nations, especially France and Britain to the fore.
After a week of acrimony in his Middle East peace drive, Obama also said that the turmoil spawned by the Arab Spring made the pursuit of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians “more urgent, not less”.
And he said France and the US would coordinate closely to encourage the parties to sit down around a negotiating table on the work of framing a secure Israel and viable Palestinian state.
Sarkozy thanked Obama for helping the smooth running of the summit, in the French resort of Deauville and said they had reached the “same analysis” on Libya.
In his appearance with Obama, Sarkozy also noted that he and Obama were standing on Normandy soil, not far from the beaches where US and allied soldiers mounted the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe in 1944.
“For all of us French men and women and in particular the people of Normandy, when the President of the United States is standing on this ground it is particularly significant,” Sarkozy said.
“There are many young Americans who gave their lives for us, who rest on Normandy soil.”
Meanwhile in Libya, the commander of the NATO mission said Gaddafi forces had landmines around the rebel-held city of Misrata.
“This morning reports showed that a minefield was laid in the Misrata area,” Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard said today.