As reports came in about the fall of Tripoli into the hands of Libyan rebels on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that the situation in the country remains “fluid” and “this is not over yet,” CBS News reported.
In a brief statement he made in the wake of the latest goings on in Libya, Obama added, “But this much is clear, the Qaddafi regime is coming to an end and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.”
As Qaddafi’s regime collapses and fighting is still going on, Obama said Qaddafi has the opportunity to reduce the bloodshed “by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya.”
He added the international community has worked with the rebel National Transitional Council to prepare for a post-Qaddafi Libya for months and will continue to work with the group.
“As the leadership of the TNC has made clear, the rights of all Libyans must be respected,” Obama said. “True justice will not come from reprisals and violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny. In that effort, the United States will be a friend and a partner.”
Meanwhile on Monday, reports from Libya said three of Qaddafi’s sons were in custody. One son, Mohammed, has allegedly managed to escape house arrest with the assistance of loyalist forces. His third son, Saif al Islam, was also captured by the opposition forces and reportedly still remains in custody.
Qaddafi’s whereabouts are still unknown, but CBS News cited White House and Pentagon officials who said they believe he is still in the country.
CBS noted that Obama was briefed by Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan and held a conference call with his National Security Council shortly before making his statement.