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June 08, 2011

White House: Gadhafi Government's Days Are Numbered

by Kent Klein

Officials in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration say they are confident that U.S. and NATO actions in Libya will bring the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s rule.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not confirm or deny remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that people close to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are offering to negotiate his departure from power.

Carney said, however, the Obama administration’s policies are helping to push Gadhafi toward the exit.

“The policies that we have pursued unilaterally, the policies we have pursued with our partners, are having the desired effect, which is putting the squeeze on the Gadhafi regime, making it clear to those around him that their days are numbered, that they are making a very fateful choice if they stay with Gadhafi, because they will not control Libya in the future,” said Carney.

Carney told reporters Thursday the White House is confident that members of Gadhafi’s inner circle will continue to leave.

“We have seen a number of defections," he said. "I am not trying to hint at any news here, but I am confident there will be more, because the United States and our partners remain committed to the policies that we have been implementing now for a number of months.”

NATO has increased the number of bombing runs in the Tripoli area in recent days.

Clinton made her comments in the United Arab Emirates. More than 20 nations meeting there pledged more than $1 billion dollars Thursday to help Libya’s opposition council and Libyans affected by the fighting in their country.

At the White House, Carney would not say when or if the United States will officially recognize the opposition Transitional National Council as Libya’s government. He did, however, say the U.S. backs global efforts to support the group financially.

“We support efforts at the international level, through the United Nations, to make Gadhafi regime assets available to the Council, to help fund it,” he said.

Also Thursday, CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee that opposition forces in Libya have made gains in the east and west, and Gadhafi’s government is weakening.

Panetta has been nominated as defense secretary, and was testifying in his confirmation hearing.