WASHINGTON – Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appealed directly to President Barack Obama on Wednesday to end what Gadhafi called “an unjust war.” He also wished Obama good luck in his bid for re-election next year.
“You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action,” Gadhafi wrote in a rambling, three-page letter to Obama obtained by the Associated Press on Wednesday. “I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that.”
The White House confirmed the letter, but top officials shrugged it off.
“I don’t think there is any mystery about what is expected from Mr. Gadhafi at this time,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, repeating U.S. and NATO demands that Gadhafi’s forces pull back and cease attacks. She also renewed a demand that Gadhafi step down from power and leave the country.
Rebels and pro-government forces waged nearly stalemate battles in Libya, while a former U.S. lawmaker made an unendorsed private trip to Tripoli to try to convince Gadhafi to step down. An Obama administration envoy continued meeting with Libyan opposition figures in the rebel-held city of Benghazi, with no decision on whether to increase U.S. help for the rebels seeking Gadhafi’s ouster.
In the letter, Gadhafi implored Obama to stop the NATO-led air campaign, which he called an “unjust war against a small people of a developing country.”
“To serving world peace … Friendship between our peoples … and for the sake of economic, and security cooperation against terror, you are in a position to keep Nato (NATO) off the Libyan affair for good,” Gadhafi wrote in the letter.
“I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that.”
Neither White House press secretary Jay Carney nor State Department spokesman Mark Toner would discuss the details of the letter.
Gadhafi told Obama that a democratic society could not be built through the use of missiles and aircraft. He also repeated his claim that the rebels seeking his ouster are members of the al-Qaida terrorist network.
Addressing Obama as “our son” and “excellency,” Gadhafi said that his country had been hurt more “morally” than “physically” by the NATO campaign.