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World leaders meet in London to discuss Libya situation

March 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Top global officials gathered in London on Tuesday to plot out an endgame for Moammar Gadhafi's regime, accusing the Libyan leader of shooting and starving his people in defiance of the international community.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in London and has already met with one rebel leader about the ongoing situation in Libya. Clinton is joining more than 40 foreign ministers, U.N. leaders and the Arab League at a conference. Officials said the conference at Lancaster House aimed to sketch out how the world could help Libya on a path to a post-Gadhafi rule.

As world leaders met, Libyan rebels were closing in on Gadhafi's hometown. They have recaptured nearly all of the area they lost over a week's time.

President Barack Obama spoke about the situation in Libya in a national address on Monday, saying he supports furthering the rebels' cause, but is not in favor of forcing Gadhafi to step down.

Some nations are critical of the international air campaign that the U.S. has joined. NATO will officially take over the reins Wednesday, even as some member nations plan to limit their participation.

In his speech, Obama said U.S. intervention was just the right thing to do, but he stopped short of saying the U.S. would force Gadhafi out.

"Of course, there is no question that Libya and the world will be better off with Gadhafi out of power. I, along with many global leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue that through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake," said Obama.

Some leaders in the U.S. said Gadhafi will leave if the U.S. keeps up the pressure. Reacting to Obama's address, Sen. John Mccain (R-Ariz.) said the president needs to take a tougher stance on getting Gadhafi out.

"To say, 'Regime change is not going to take place by force,' I certainly can't agree with. [Ghadafi] is a danger to the world, and the longer he stays in power, the more dangerous he becomes," said McCain.

Defense officials said the price tag of the U.S.'s involvement tops $600 million for just this first week. But Obama said when NATO takes over, the cost to U.S. taxpayers will drop significantly.

The president will continue to try and bolster support with an appearance in New York on Tuesday.

Some people said they found the president's speech puzzling, even contradictory at times. In an exclusive Eyewitness News poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, we asked viewers if the U.S. is taking too much of a leadership role in Libya.

Forty percent said yes and 14 percent said the U.S. isn't taking enough of a leadership role. While 41 percent agree with the current level of action, 6 percent remain undecided.

We also asked if viewers would support sending ground troops into Libya if the airstrikes don't lead to Gadhafi leaving power in Libya.

Seventy percent said they were against the idea, 20 percent said they support it and 10 percent said they're not sure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.