- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2011

Residents of Misurata and Adjabiya in Libya said pro-Gadhafi forces were continuing an assault on their cities, hours after the Libyan government had announced a cease-fire in response to a U.N. Security Council resolution.

In satellite phone interviews with The Washington Times on Friday, residents reported no interruption in fighting between anti-government and pro-Gadhafi forces.

A rebel in Misurata, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the international community must conduct airstrikes on the city to deter Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Phone, electricity and water connections to the rebel-held cities had been cut off.

Speaking at the White House, President Obama warned Col. Gadhafi to stop killing Libyans or else face military action from the U.S. and its allies, including those in the Arab world.

“Moammar Gadhafi has a choice,” Mr. Obama said. “The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop.

“Gadhafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas,” he said.

Mr. Obama said the regime should allow humanitarian assistance to reach the people of Libya.

“These terms are not negotiable. These terms are not subject to negotiation. If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action,” the president said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Paris on Saturday to participate in a meeting with European and Arab allies on enforcing the Security Council resolution.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. would not deploy ground troops in Libya.

“And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal - specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya,” he added.

Speaking in Tripoli earlier on Friday, Libyan Foreign Minister Mousa Kousa announced the regime’s decision to implement the U.N. resolution’s call for a cease-fire.

Calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “We need to see results and not just rhetoric.”

“In other words, President Reagan’s old maxim demands revision: ‘don’t trust - verify,’ ” Mr. Kerry added.

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution on Thursday to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and take all necessary action, short of a ground invasion, to protect the Libyan people. The resolution also calls for an arms embargo on the Gadhafi regime.

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