Obama Praises Gadhafi Opposition at UN Meeting

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In remarks at a high-level United Nations meeting on Libya Tuesday, President Obama praised the efforts of the nation's oppositional forces to end Moammar Gadhafi's 40-year rule.

"After decades of iron rule by one man, it will take time to build the institutions needed for a democratic Libya," Obama said Tuesday at the gathering of world leaders, which included representatives of Libya's National Transitional Council.

"I'm sure there will be days of frustration," he said. "But if we have learned anything these many months, it is this - do not underestimate the aspirations and will of the Libyan people."

The president also commended the international community for having "the courage and the collective will to act" against Gadhafi's regime, vowing the world would stand with the nation in its period of transition.

The president urged the NTC to do everything necessary to ensure a timely democratic transition in the North African nation.

"We think it's most important to get it right rather than to get it done fast," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said earlier Tuesday.

"The NTC has made very positive statements about wanting to pursue an inclusive transition, about wanting to broaden the nature of the government to include some additional elements of the opposition that were based in different parts of the country," he added.

Rhodes said the U.S. is close to re-establishing a full diplomatic presence in Tripoli and is working on freeing Gadhafi's frozen assets.

Meanwhile, Gadhafi, stalwart in his bid hold onto power, is trying to rally his supporters.

In an audio message Tuesday the deposed leader insisted his regime is still alive.

Gadhafi, who remains in hiding, said that it would be hard to bring him down because he has millions of followers. 

"What is happening in Libya is a charade which can only take place thanks to the (NATO-led) air raids, which will not last forever," he said.

"The political system in Libya is a system based on the power of the people ... and it is impossible that this system be removed," he continued.
   
Despite his call to arms, many people are abandoning his hometown of Sirte. The news comes ahead of a new push by revolutionary forces to take the city.

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